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Full text of "The validity of Presbyterian Ordination asserted and maintained : a discourse delivered at the Anniversary Dudleian-Lecture, at Harvard College in Cambridge New England, May 12, 1762 : with an appendix, giving a brief historical account of the epistles ascribed to Ignatius; and exhibiting some of the many reasons, why they ought not to be depended on as his uncorrupted works"

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On certain Passages in 
The Bifliop of Landaff's 


The Validity of Presbyterian Ordination 
asserted and maintained. 



Delivered at the 

Anniversary Dudleian-Lecture, 


Harvard-College in Cambridge 
May 12. 1762. 

With an APPENDIX, 
Giving a brief historical account of the 
epiftlesafcribed to Ignatius ; and exhi- 
biting fome of the many reafons, why 
they ought not to be depended on as his 
uncorrupted works. 


One ofthePastorsof the First Church inBoston, 

■^■»» M1 S ^ ' 1 . 1-W W I M F ? P IL J f-f T ' < ', H» » . > i 


Printed and Sold by Richard Draper, in New- 

bury-Street, and Thomas Leverett in 

cornhill. i762. 

The words I would prefix to the 
following difcourfe, as a proper 
motto, are thofe infpired ones of 

the apoftle Paul, 


" Neglect not the gift that is in thee, 
" which was given thee by prophecy, 
cc with the laying on the hands of 
" the prefbytery. 

i Tim. iv. 14. 

THE honorable judge Dud ley " ef- 
" teem'd the method of ordination, 
" as pra&ifed in Scotland, at Gene- 
" va, among the diflenters in England, and 
u in the churches in this country, to be 
" fafe, fcriptural and valid." And he firm- 
ly believed, " that the great head of the 
" church, by his blefled fpirit, had own'd, 
" fanflified and blell the admhiftration of 
" gofpel ordinances by perfons ordained \ 
u this way ; and chat he would concinu 
*' fo to do to the end of the world." I 

A3 v 


6 Ordination by Presbyters 

was accordingly his intention, that the dif- 
courie at this lecture Ihould be adapted to 
the purpole of " explaining and maintain- 
ing " this kind of ordination. Not that 
he queftioned " the validity of what is 
commonly called epifcopal ordination, as 
performed in the church of England," or 
had it in his heart to encourage the faying 
any thing that would ini'inuate as tho' God 
had not bled, and would not goon to blefs, 
the miniftry of thofe who were thus or- 
dained. Had none of the friends to ecclefi- 
aftical fuperiorities, according to the prefent 
epifcopal form, been Jefs wanting in candor 
and charity towards thofe who differ from 
them, we ihould never have heard of this 
lecture. It took rife, in the honorable 
founder's mind, from the narrow principles 
of thofe anathamatifmg zealots, who would 
confine falvation to their own church, by 
confining the validity of gofpel ordinances 
to the adrainiftratioil of them by perfons, 
upon whom the hands of a bifhop, in their 
fcnfe of the word, have been impoicd. And 
he wifely ordered the preaching of it in this 
place, that our fons, who are lent here, 
from all parts of the land, to be trained up 
for public fervice, might be under advan- 
tage to hear and know the reafons, upon 
which they may, with all good conference, 
join in communion With thefe churches, 


Scriptural and valid, 7 

and officiate aspaftors in them, fhould they, 
when fitted for it, be called thereto in the 
providence of God. 

You are, by this time, at no lofs to know 
the defign of the prefent difcourfe ; that it 
is to vindicate the New-England churches 
in their method of ordination by preibyters: 
or, in other words, to affert and maintain 
the fafetyand validity of what is commonly 
called prefbyterian ordination, to the pur- 
pofes of the gofpel miniftry. 

Only, before I come to the argument 
upon this head, it may not be amifs to men- 
tion a few things, in which we agree with 
our opponents. 

We agree with them, it is the will of 
Chrift there fhould be officers in his church 
to preach the word, toadminifter the facra- 
ments, to exercife difcipline, and to com- 
mit thefe powers toother faithful men ; and 
that this will of his extends to all ages, till 
time (hall be- no more. " Lo, I am with 
you always, even to the end of the world." 
Whether it be his will, made known in the 
new-teftament-revelation, or elfe-where, 
that this work of the facred miniftry fhould 
be divided, and differently lodged in the 
hands of two diftinft orders oi men, the 

A 4 one 

8 Ordination by Presbyters 

one fuperior, the other inferior, we fhall 
hear afterwards. 

We agree with them, that none fhould 
take upon them the minifterial office, unlefs 
they are qualified for it conformably to the 
apoftolic directions in the epiflles to Timo- 
thy and Titus ; and, if they are thus quali- 
fied, that they have no right to officiate as 
paftors in the church of Chrift, till they are 
called hereto. " No man taketh this ho- 
nor to himfelf, but he that is called of God. 
as was Aaron." This call, in the opinion 
of the church of England, includes not on- 
ly an ability given by God for the work of 
the miniflry, but the excitement of an ac- 
tual readinefs in the perfons who have it 
freely to devote themfelves to the gofpel 
fervice. We go farther, and add hereto, 
the voice of the church. And herein the_ 
advantage lies undeniably on our fide, whe- 
ther an appeal be made to fcripture, or pri- 
mitive antiquity. Even after the diftintfion 
between bifhops and prefbyters took place, 
it was by the fuffrage of the people that 
this or that perfon was felefled for this or 
the other cure. In this way, Alexander 
was chofen bifhop of Jerufalem f ; in the 
fame way Fabianus was advanced to the 
fee of Rome, upon the death of Antcrus *, 


f Eufeb. Lib. 6. c. u. * Eufeb. Lib. 6. c. 28. 

Scriptural and valid. g 

tls was alfo his fucceffor Cornelius f ; and 
it was by the fame favor and fuffrage of the 
people, " plebis favore, " § " populi fufFra- 
gio," * that Cyprian was elected bifhop of 
Carthage.* — But inftead of mifpending the 
time to prove that which is fo weli known 
to all, in any meafure acquainted with an- 
tiquity, it may rather be lamented, that 
the churches of Chrift havefo generally had 
wrefted from them, in one way or another, 
this invaluable privilege. The people, con- 
ftituting the epifcopal church at home, 
fcarce know what it is to have pallors of 
their own chufing. And the eale is much 
the fame with molt of the proteftant chur- 
ches in Europe. The right of nomination 
is almoft univerfally lodged, not with the 
people, but with princes or patrons, either 
clerical or fecular, in confequence whereof 
their miniiters are not of their own chufing, 
but fuch as others chufe for them. The 
New-England churches, blefled be God, 
poflefs and exercife the right of electing 
their paltors in the mod ample manner of 
any in the whole chriftian world. May 
they ever " ftand fa ft in this liberty " where- 
with he who is " head over all things," has 
" made them free " ! And may their glory, 
in this refpedt, be never taken from them ! 


t Cyprian. Epif. 67. § Pontius in vita Cypriani. 
* Cyprian. Epif. 55. 40. 

io Ordination by Presbyters 

We agree with them, that, befides the 
call to, their mult be an inveftiture in, the 
miniiterial office, before perfons may, in or- 
dinary cafes, regularly undertake to do the 
work that is proper to it : And we are fur- 
ther agreed, that ordination, meaning here- 
by impofition of hands with folemn prayer, 
is the fcripture-mode of this inveftiture. 
By the ufe of this rite, with prayer, Paul 
and Barnabas were feparated to the work to 
which God had called them. So was Ti- 
mothy ; and fo were thofe feperatedby him 
to the like work. And this has been the 
rite of minifterial inveftiture in ufe in the 
church all along from the beginning to this 

Only, let it be remembered here, if, 
by ordination, our opponents fuppofe any 
moral gift, or fpiritual power, inherent 
in the ordainers, is conveyed from them to 
the perfons upon whom they lay their hands, 
we beg leave to diflent from them in this : 
Apprehending, and, as we judge, upon 
good grounds, that the authority of goipel 
minifters comes folely from Chrift ; while 
the ordainers are nothing more than his fer- 
vants in inflating the perfons they ordain in 
the regular exercile of this authority. As 
in the cafe of the mayor of a city, the kings 
charter of incorporation grants the power; 


Scriptural and valid, ii 

the burgeffes and recorder only indigitate 
the proper recipient of it, and put him legally 
into the execution of his office. So here, 
Chrift, in the gofpel-charter, gives the 
power to aft as his minifters ; it only be- 
longs to the ordainers to point out the per- 
fons with whom this power is intruded, 
and regularly admit them to the exercife of 
it. The ordainers are to be confidered, not 
as granting this power, but as afting mi~ 
nifterially in introducing capable perfons, 
according to gofpel-order, into the poffef- 
fion and ufe of it ; the power itfelf having 
already been granted by Chrift, the alone 
fountain of all power in the church, which 
is properly jure divino. 

It follows from hence, as we judge, very 
obvioufly and juftly, that thofe who are r& 
gularly veiled with the minifterial office 
may fairly claim, and warrantably exercife, 
all the power that belongs to it, be the 
words of their inveftiture, or the intention 
of their ordainers, what they will. For as 
their office is from Chrift his inftituting will, 
not the intention or words of their ordain- 
ers, mult be the true and only meafure of 
their power. 

/ In fine, we agree with our opponents, 
that the inveftiture by ordination muft be 


12 Ordination by Presbyters 

the aft of thofe, and only thofe, who are 
authorifed to perform it. It is not left, in 
thefacred fcriptures, a work common to all, 
and that may be done by any ; but is the 
appropriate truft offome, in diftin&ionfrom 
others. The brethren may not impofe 
hands in confecrations to the gofpel-mini- 
ftry. Nothing occurs in the new-teftament 
that can be conftrued to countenance fuch 
a practice. The builnefs belongs to thofe 
only who are officers in the church of Chrift ; 
tho' not to thefe indifcriminately. For dea- 
cons, no more than mere brethren, may 
be allowed to lay on hands in ordination. 
The gofpel officers who may do this are 
only thofe, who are authorifed hereto ; that 
is to fay, they are only thofe whofe office 
contains in it this, among other minifterial 

But who are thefe officers ? This is 
the grand queftion : And the true anfwer 
to it will be decifive in the prefent difpute. 

Our opponents fay, bifhops, confidered 
as an order of men diftindt from, and fu- 
perior to, prefbyters, are the only church- 
officers, who are veiled with a right to 


Scriptural and valid* 13 

We fay, on the contrary, the fcripture 
knows of no fuch order of officers in the 
church ; and that gofpei-prefbyters, or fuch 
minilters of Chrift as are allowed to have a 
right to preach the word, and adminifler 
the facraments, are true fcripture bilhops, 
and cloathed with authority to do every 
thing that is to be done in the bufinefs of 

And this is the point I am to make evi- 
dent to you. In order whereto I might 
call your attention to thofe various argu- 
ments which have commonly been made 
life of upon like occafions with this ; but, 
as I am confined within too narrow limits 
to do them proper juftice, I fhall wholly 
pafs them over, though they carry in them, 
as I imagine, conclusive force, that I may 
leave room to enlarge on the following 
considerations, namely, 

That the apoftles of Chrift, in fettling 
the churches, conftituted ( befides the order 
of deacons ) no more than one order of 
Handing pallors ; That thefe pallors, in 
their day, were called fometimes bifhops, 
fometimes prefbyters, and promifcuoully 
pointed out by either of thefe names \ and 
finally, that thefe bifhops or prefbyters were 
endowed with all the ordinary powers that 


14 Ordination by Presbyters 

were to be exercifed in the church of Chrift, 
particularly with that of ordination. 

These premifes will, if fet in a juft 
point of light, unavoidably juftify us in 
concluding, that prefbyterian ordination, 
or, as it might with equal propriety be 
called, ordination by fcripture-bifhops, is 
fafe and valid. 

It fcarce needs to be previoufly remarked 
here, that the apoftles, confidered as fuch, 
were immediately fent by God, and this 
under the infallible guidance of infpiration, 
to preach the gofpel to Gentiles as well as 
Jews, to gather churches in all parts of the 
world, and to appoint the officers, both 
for inftrudion and government, which 
were to be perpetuated in them for their 
edification in faith and holinefs, till the time 
of the appearing of our Saviour to put an 
end to the prefent gofpel-ceconomy. This 
being taken for granted, I proceed to fay, 

That the apoftles, in virtue of this 
plenitude of power, which they received 
immediately from Chrift, conftituted no 
more ( beiides the order of deacons, with 
which we have nothing to do at prefent ) 
than one order of (land in q- officers in the 
gefpel-church. It is not my bufincfs, in 


Scriptural and valid. 


this part of the difcourfe, to fay who thefe- 
officers are : This will be done afterwards. 
At prefent I am concerned only with the, 
fact itfelf ; the proof of which is to be 
fetched from the facred writings* And the 
proof from hence is as full as could reafon- 
ably be defired. 

Neither Chrift nor his apoftles have 
any where given inftructions, defcriptive of 
the perfons fit for the work of the miniftry, 
that are adapted to the fuppofition of a dif- 
ference of order in the paftoral office. Had 
there been fuch a difference, different qua- 
lifications would have been requifite to the 
fuitabk difcharge of the different trufls ari- 
fing therefrom ; and it might juftly have 
been expelled, that the fcriptures would 
have diftinguifhed between the qualificati- 
ons refpectively proper for the manage- 
ment of each of thefe trufts.. But 
they no where thus diftinguifh. They 
no w r here intimate, that fuch different 
endowments w 7 ere neceffary. Far from 
this, they have fpecified the qualifications 
of one order of paftors only ; as may be 
feen at large in the epiflles to Timothy and 
Titus. And what is llrange, they have 
been very particular in difcribing the qua- 
lifications of this one order, while they are 
totally filent with refpect to the other that 


16 Ordination by Presbyters 

is pleaded for, tho* that other is faid to be 
by much the mofl honorable and important 
of the two. 

In like manner, no rules are any where 
laid down for the guidance of ordainers in 
veiling ordinary minifters with different 
degrees of honor and power. They are no 
where told of the inftitutionof two diftin6l 
orders of ftanding paftors ; they are no 
where inftru&ed to exercife their ordaining 
right conformably to this diftin&ion, by 
placingfome in an higher, others in a lower 
rank in the church. The facred writings 
of the apoftles fay nothing to fuch a pur- 
pofe as this. On the contrary, they prefent 
to our view a very full and explicit directo- 
ry for the ordination of one order only of 
ftanding paftors. This we have in the 
Pauline inftruftion, referring to the fettle- 
xnent of the churches in Crete. The great 
apoftle of the Gentiles gives it in charge to 
Titus, whom he left in this ifland with a 
direct view " to fet in order the things that 
were wanting," to ordain fixed paftors in 
the feveral churches there. But what paf- 
tors were they ? Of a different rank, fome 
fuperior, others inferior ? Not a word 
leading to fuch a tho't is to be found thro'- 
out his whole epiltle. No ; but the paftors 
he dir^fts fhould be ordained were precifely 


Scriptural and valid. 17 

of the fame rank or degree : Nor did Titus 
ordain any other. He could not indeed 
have done it, unlefs he had ailed counter 
to the direction he had received from the 
infpired Paul. 

The plea here is, Titus was himfelf, at 
this time, the fole bifhop of Crete, and as 
fuch entrnfted with the power of ordaining 
inferior paftors. But this is a plea that 
can't be fupported upon juft and folid reafons ; 
as we fhall have occaiion, by and by, to 
make plain to you. In the mean time, we 
go on and fay further, 

That, in the churches fettled in apof- 
tolic times, no ordinary gofpel-minifters are 
to be found but of one order only. No o- 
ther were in Lyftra, Iconium and Anti- 
och. The apoftle Paul, with Barnabas, 
conftituted fuch paftors in all the churches 
in thefe places, but no other. Tis faid, * 
" they ordained elders," officers of one and 
the fame rank, " in every city." Should the 

WOrUS, ^flpsTovjjravTg? £2 ccvtok; TTfiirfivTSfQi:? kcct iKK>.r,(rt(X,v 9 

be rendered, not, * when they had ordain- 
ed them elders in every city" ; but, accord- 
ing to Dr. Hammond's f mind, " when they 
had ordain'd them elders church by 
church" ; meaning, that a plurality of elders 
was conftituted in thefe churches collectively 

B taken, 

* Atfs, xiV. 23. f Vid. Hammond in loc. 

18 Ordinatiom by Presbyters 

taken, not that there was this plurality 
in each individual church : I fay, fhould 
this be allowed to be the fenfe of the words, 
it would notwithftanding remain the truth 
of fadl, that one order of officers only was 
here fpoken of; which is all I am at pre- 
fent proving from this text. Tho' I fee not 
but a plurality of elders might be ordained 
" from church to church," in one church 
after another, and fo in every church, as 
well as a lingle one in each church. And 
this is undoubtedly the true fenfe of the 
place, as it beft accords with what was ac- 
tually done in other churches. 

At Ephefus, as in the place we have 
juft been conlidering, no paftors had been 
fettled but of equal degree. No other are 
mentioned by the apoftle Paul, when he 
lent from Miletus to Ephefus to call to him 
the paftors of that church. He fpeaksof 
them in the ftile of elders, J evidently de- 
scribing them as officers of one and the 
fame rank. Had there been a biihop in 
this church, a fingle perfon of a fuperior or- 
der, to whom thefe elders were in fubjefli- 
on, 'tis ftrangehc did not fend for him like- 
wife. Or if, at this time, he had been fo 
far diftant from his cure as not to be with- 
in call, it is equally ftrange he fhould fay 
nothing relative to him ; efpecially, as he 


t Ads, 20. 17. 

! Scriptural and valid. 19 

was now to take his final leave of this 
church, § " knowing that they fhould fee 
his face no more." This, if ever, was a fit 
feafon to mind them of their duty to their 
principal paftor. And it might the rather 
have been expefted now, as he fpeaks of it 
as a thing known tp him, " that after his 
departure, grievous wolves would enter in 
among them, not fparing the flock." * 
Who fo proper to have received inftru&ions, 
in this cafe, as the chief fhepherd ? He tells 
them alfo, " that of their 'own felves men 
fhould arife, fpeaking perverfe things 
to draw away difciples after them." J And 
who fo fui table to be charged with the care 
of withftanding thefe men as the bifhop ? 
And yet, the whole care of this church, 
now the apoftle was going from them to 
return no more, he devolves on the elders ; 
and this, tho' he knew they would be ex- 
pofed to hazards, both from within them- 
felves, and from abroad. This conduct is 
fo unlike to the manner of after times, 
when bifhops were advanced to fuperior dig- 
nity and power, that it muft be fuppofed, 
either that the church of Ephefus had no 
fuch bifhop, or that the apoftle was ftrangc- 
ly forgetful of him. Ignatius, a primitive 
father, who lived in this fame century, if 
his epillles are genuine, as they are faid to 

B 2 be 

H AGs xx. Vcr. 38. * Ver. 29. % Vcr. 30. 

20 Ordination by Presbyters 

be by our opponents, did not treat the bi* 
fhop of this, or any other of the churches 
he wrote to, with fuch negle£h He rather 
efteemed them officers fo highly important 
as to make obedience to them an article 
worthy of his inculcation repeated to difguft. 
If the apoftle Paul had been of the like fpi* 
rit, he could not have omitted mentioning 
the bifhop of Ephefus, if there had been one 
in the church there, in his day. 

At Philippi likewife there were no fixt 
paftors but of one order. Very obfervable 
to this purpofe is the infeription of the epiftle 
to the church there. " To all the faints in 
Chrifl Jefus which are at Philippi, with 
the biihops and deacons." f Befides the 
deacons, no gofpel paftors but of one order 
are here taken notice of. And the fameii- 
lence runs thro' the epiftle itfelf. Thefe 
paftors/tis true, are called bifhops; but they 
were biihops of the fame clafs with the el- 
ders at Lyftra, Iconium, Antioch and E- 
phefus. To be fure, they were not bifhops 
in the fenfe of the church of England ; and 
for this very good reafon, becaufe there 
was a plurality of them in this church at 
the fame time ; which flatly contradi&s 
that eflential article in theepifcopalfcheme, 
" one church one bifhop. " 


t Philip. I. i. 

Scriptural and valid. 21 

No pains have been wanting to evade 
this difficulty. Some, in order to it, have 
adopted the fenfe, the counterfeit Ambrofe, 
but the true Hilary, would put upon the 
infcription, and read it thus, " Paul and 
Timothy, with the bifhops and deacons, to 
the faints at Philippic Should this con- 
ftrudion be allowed to be juft, it would 
not folve the difficulty. For it would frill 
remain true, that there was a plurality of 
bifhops in this church, unlefs it fhould be 
faid, that thefe were the bifhops, not of the 
church of Philippi, but of other churches 
happening to be there at this time ; which 
is a meer random-conjedure, arbitrarily 
made without the lead proof. But the con- 
ftruction itfelf is forc'd, and incapable of 
being juftifled. Should the infcriptions 
prefixt to the two epiftles to the Corinthians 
be thus read and interpreted, no epifcopa^ 
rian, however zealous, would venture to fay, 
we fhould have the true fenfe. And why 
any fhould pretend, that this is the fenfe of 
the infcription in difpute, no imaginable 
reafon can be affign'd, fetting afide that of 
Serving an hypothecs ; as the mode of dic- 
tion is precifely the fame in all thefe infcrip- 
tions. Befides, as fome of the beft critics 
have obferved, if the apoflle had intended 
to have taken in the bifhops and deacons 
with him in faluting this church, he would 


22 Ordination by Presbyters 

llOt hQ.Ve WrOte, nauAt? x.Zcl TipoSeeS uyiei*; rei$ ovcri; 
sv QiXixxoiCf <rw i7riTKo7eoic, scat hetx-ovsis, , faV he 

would not have wrote thus, but h«9a?i *** 

Ti/AoQioc, x.u.1 oi <rw lfJUO'.% ZKKTKazoi xtc t oimkovoi, kyio^ rat? 

c V <nv & <DiA^T«i?. This was his mode of expref- 
fion, when the brethren were co-partners 
with him in writing to the churches of 
Galatia. The form of words is, * n*v\* **< 

This fame form of expreffion is ufed like- 
wife by Polycarp, who had converfed with 
thofe who had feen our Lord, in his epiftle 
to the Philippian church, f fl**HNr - « ** 1 y «£*» 
*vt» TfirfivTspa to the church of God that fo- 
journeth with the Philippians.- — But this is 
too uncouth a fenfe to require any thing 
more to be faid in confutation of it. 

The learned Dr. Hammond, to avoid 
the fuppofition of more bifhops than one in 
this church, makes Philippi a metropolitan 
city, and the bifhops of it, not the bifhops 
of that fingle city only, but of the cities 
under that metropolis. § In anfwer where- 
to, Dr. Whitby afTures us, J that Philippi 
was not, at this time, a metropolitan city, 
but under the metropolis of ThefTalonica, 
which was the metropolis of all Mace- 
donia. And, as to its being a metropolitan 


* Gal. I. i. 3. f Infcription to Polycarp's epiftle, 
§ Hammond's note on Philip. I, 1. 
% His note on Phillip. I. 1. 

Scriptural and valid. 23 

church, the learned bifhop Stillingfleet has 
abundantly prov'd, 11 that there are no tra- 
ces of it within the firft fix centuries. But 
it would be needlefs to enlarge here. The 
irreconcileablenefs of this notion with the 
Hate of things in apoftolic times is fo appa- 
rent, that the bare mentioning of it is enough 
to refute it. Dr. Maurice, tho' a ftrenuous 
advocate for diocefan epifcopacy, in oppo- 
fition to Mr. Clarkfon, fpeaks of this learn- 
ed author, * as " alone " in this folution of 
the difficulty, and declines the defence of it; 
At the fame time, profeffing " that he could 
never find fufficient reafon to believe thefe 
bifhops any other than prefbyters, as the 
generality of the fathers, and of the church 
of England, have done." This is fairly 
and freely faid. 

I shall only add here, the apoftle is 
as forgetful of the bifhop of this church, as 
he was of the bifhop ofEphefus; for he 
takes no notice of any fingle paflor fuperior 
in rank to the other paftors. And the fame 
filence is obfervable in Polycarp's epiftle to 
this church a few years after. Will any 
pretend, that non-relidency was a common 
cuftom in thofe primitive times ? It is far 
more likely there were no fuch fuperi- 
or paftors, than that they fhould be thus 


H Irenicum page 359 &c. 

* " Defence of diocefan epifcopacy, " page 27. 

24 Ordination by Presbyters 

abfent from theircures. And yet, this muft 
have been the cafe, or it can't eafily be ac- 
counted for, that no mention is made of 
them ; efpecially when inferior paftors are 
applied to, and even the deacons are not 

There is yet further evidence, that 
paftors of one order cmly were fettled in 
the churches, in the firft times of the gofp'el, 
from the apoftle Peter's firft epiftle, which 
he directs to the chriftians * " fcattered 
throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia; 
Afia, and Bythirria." Had this apoftle 
been acquainted with any diftin<5tion of 
order between bifhops and other paftors, 
he would undoubtedly have taken fome 
notice of it in an epiftle infcribed to chrif- 
tains in fo many parts of the world. But, 
inftead of this, he mentions only fuch paf- 
tors as were of equal rank ; and thefe, while 
iilent about others, he is exprefs in urging 
to the faithful difcharge of their duty as 
officers in the church of Chrift. " The el- 
ders," fays he, f u which are among you, 
I exhort, feed the flock of God." 

And, from that apoftolic injunction, | 
" Is any fick among you ? Let him call for 
the elders of the church, and let them pray 
over them" : I fay, from this apoftolic rule, it 


* i. Peter I. i. | i. ret. y. i. 2. J James v. 14. 

Scriptural and valid. 1 25 

fhouldfeem, that the then known ordinary 
pallors of the church were only elders. 
Why elfe are they particularly named, and 
chriftians inllru6led to apply to them to af- 
flll them with their prayers ? Had there 
been, in thofe days, another and fuperior 
order of pallors, it cannot eafily be fuppo- 
fed, they fhould have been wholly over- 
looked. — But I may not enlarge. 

It is fufficiently evident, I would hope, 
from what has been offered, that the apof- 
tles of our Lord conflituted no more than 
one order of (landing pallors in the gofpel- 
church. And fo the way is prepared to 

In the next place, that the names, bifhop 
and prefbyter, were, in apoftblic times, 
reciprocal terms, and accordingly ufed as 
fuch to point out this conflituted order of 
pallors. The texts to this purpofe are full 
and flrong. Thus, the elders, T^^np^ 
whom the apoillePaul called to him from 
Ephefus, are applied to in the llile of 
overfeers, st^xo^. Having fent for them 
under the former name, he exhorts them 
under the latter. So we read, §" He fent 
toEphefus, and called the elders, ^ic^j-:^v:, 
of the church ; and when they were come 
to him, he faid unto them ■ — Take heed 

C i 10 

§ Afts xx. 17, 28. 

26 Ordination by Presbyters 

to the flock over which the holy Ghoil hath 
made you overfeers, " tMKovovt. The fame 
perfons, who are ftiled prefbyters in one 
part of the fame continued lentence, are in 
the other called bifhops ; and this, while 
fpoken of in their proper chara&er as offi- 
cers of the church. In like manner, the a- 
ptfftle Peter promifcuoufly ufes thefe names, 
applying them to the fame paftors.* " The 
elders (vptafivrtfns) that are among you, I 
exhort — feed the flock of God, taking the 
overfight thereof, " wf#**iw*« ; a6ting the 
part, exer&fing the office, of bilhops in it. 
The fame promifcuous ufe is made of thefe 
names by the apoftle Paul, in his epiftle to 
Titus : For, having faid fome things de- 
fcriptive of the qualifications of thofe he 
would have ordained elders, f *s&0vrepwu 
he gives this as the reafon of what he had 
offered, £ " a bifhop, mwhwt<& mud be 
blamelefs — . " There would be no con- 
nection, no force, in this reafoning, unlefs 
he meant by the names elders and bifhops, 
*p<r faryoi and miie«nt 9 precifely the fame 

It may not be amifs to obferve here, 
for the lake of thofe who are fo apt, in this 
difpute, to recur to antiquity, that both the 
greek and latin fathers, if we mav believe 


* i Pet. 7. i, 2, |Tit. »• 5> 6 « t Vcr ' "- 

Scriptural and valid. 27 

Dr.Whitby, * an eprfcoparian writer, " do 
with one confent declare, that bifhops were 
called prefbyters, and prefbyters bifhops, 
in apoftolic times, the names then being 
common. So Chryfoftom, Thodoret, 
Oecumenius and Theophyla6t, among the 
Greeks ; and, among the Latins, Jerom, 
Pfeud-Ambroiius, Pelagius,and Primafius. ■' 

And if the names were then common, 
and, as we have proved, promifcuoufly 
ufed to point out the fame church-officers, 
it is obvious, and vet juft to conclude, that 
thefe are the officers always intended, 
whether thev are called bifhops or pref- 
byters. And upon the truth of this con- 
dition, we may warrantably affirm, that 
the bifhops, whole qualifications are de- 
scribed in the epiftlc to Timothy, are pre- 
cifely the fame with the elders Titus was 
directed to ordain in Crete ; as alfo, that 
the bifhops of the church at Philippi 
were the fame with the elders fpoken of in 
other churches, and, e contra, the elders in 
other churches the fame with thefe bifhops. 
And in this view of the fcripture-language 
a perfect harmony runs thro' the whole 
new-teftament upon this bead of ordinary 

C 2 I 

* Note on Philip, i. i. 

28 Ordination by Presbyters 

I shall finifh this part of the difcourfe 
with the following remark, worthy of 
fpecial notice, namely, that in all the a- 
bove fcripture-pafTages, the argument, in 
proof that biihops and prefbyters are one 
and the fame order of paftors, is not ground- 
ed meerly on the promifcuous f ufe of thefe 
names, but their being fo ufed as'to point 
out the work, or defcr'ibe the qualifications, 
that are proper to one and the fame office. 
Perhaps, the argument would have been 
valid, could we have reafoned only from 
the reciprocal ufe of thefe names; but, as 
we reafon not meerly from this, but from 
the appropriation alfo of the fame work, 
and the fame moral endowments, to the 
fame perfons under thefe different names, 
the arguing is unexceptionably ftrong and 
conclulive. And to it is confeffed to be 
by fome of the beft writers in favor of 
epifcopacy, particularly by the late celebra- 
ted bifhop Hoadly, who, far from calling 
in queftion the ftrength of this way of argu- 
ing, acknowledges it's force, * and pleads, 
that the bifhops of the church of England 
don't anfwer to thole that arepromifcuoully 
called either bifhops or prefbyters in the 
new-teframent, but to officers fuperior to 
them: A fuggellion we (hall have opportu- 
nity afterwards to confider. But, previous 


* " Reafonablencf* of conformuy to the church of England. " 
page 383, 389, &c. 


2 9 

to this, we fha'll go on to the laft branch 
of the prefent argument, and fay, 

That thefe officers of equal rank, who 
are promifcuoufly called either bifhops or 
prefbyters, were endowed with all the or- 
dinary powers proper to be exercifed in the 
church of Chrift, with that of ordination, 
as well as thofe of teaching, baptifmg and 
administering the Lord's fupper. 

That they were authorifed to preach 
andadminifter the facraments,our opponents 
do freely allow. And from hence it might 
be cohfequentially argued, a fortiori, that 
they were empowered alfo to ordain. For 
thefe are minifterial a£ts more excellent and 
important in their nature, than that of or- 
dination. — But the limits to which I am 
c.oiifined oblige me to pafs over this argu- 

It is alfo allowed, and even infilled 
oh, by epifcopal writers, that the fame 
perfons who are authorifed to govern, are 
in like manner, empowered to ordain. 
Now, it were eafy to (how, from the fcrip- 
tures, that the former of thele powers was 
given to prefbyters; from whence it might 
be inferred, that they were vefted with the 
latter. Bat this argument alfo I (hall dif- 


30 Ordination by Presbyters 

mifs, that I may have time more fully to 
lay before you the dired proof we have, 
that the power of ordination was lodged 
with ordinary pallors or prefbyters. 

And we prove this from fcripture-inftan- 
ces of this kind of ordination. 

If thefacred books of the new-teftament 
prefent to our view examples of ordination 
by prefbyters, we fhall take it for granted, 
this will be efteemed a good reafon why 
we fhould think, they were veiled with 
ordaining power; and that prefbyters now 
will a£l warrantably, while they copy after 
the pattern that is fet them in the infpired 
Tvritings. It only remains therefore to pro- 
duce thefe inflances. 

The firlt is that ,of the feparation of 
Barnabas and Paul to the work to which 
God had called them ; the account whereof 
is recorded * in thefe words, " There weie 
in the church that was at Antioch certain 
prophets and teachers. — As they mini fired 
to the Lord, and faded, the holy Ghoft 
laid, feparate me Barnabas and Paul to the 
work whereunto I have called them. And 
when they had failed and prayed, and laid 
hands on them, they lent them away/' 
This is the moll circumftantial account 


* A&s xiii. I, 2, 3. 

Scriptural and valid. 


given in fcripture of an ordination. The 
perfons ordained were previoiifly called of 
God; they were fet apart to the fpecial 
work to which they had been called; all 
the minifterial a&s any where mentioned, 
in thCnew-teftament, as accompanying the 
feparation of perfons to the fervice of the 
church of Chrift, were performed, impofiti- 
on of hands, fading and prayer ; and what 
is moredire&ly toourpurpofe,theordainers 
were" the prophets and teachers " of the 
church at Antioch. Thefe teachers were 
its ordinary pallors, the fame officers that 
are elfe where promifcuoufly called bifhops 
or prefbyters. Mofl certainly, they could 
not be bifhops, in the fenfe of the church 
of England, becaufe there was a plurality 
of them in this church. What more can 
be wanting to make this a compleat inflance 
in our favor ? 

The objections againft it only ferve as 
fo many occafions to place it in a ftronger 
point of light. 

J Tis faid, by Turrianus, biftiop Bilfon, 
and fome others, that this feparation of 
Barnabas and Paul was the act, not of the 
teachers, but of the prophets (extraordinary 
officers) who impofed hands with them. 
But this is only faid, not proved; nor can 


32 Ordination by Presbyters 

it be proved. The divine order, " feparate 
me Barnabas and Paul," was as truly di- 
rected to thefe teachers, as to the prophets; 
they as certainly laid hands on thefe perfons, 
and prayed over them, in feparating them 
to their work ; and as much is attributed to 
them, relative to their feparation, as to the 
prophets. And confequently, if it can be 
argued, from any thing that is here laid to 
thefe prophets, or that is fpoken of as done 
by them, that they were vefted with the 
power of ordination ; it may, in the fame 
way, and with equal ftrength, be argued, 
that the teachers alfo were endowed with 
the fame power; for there is nothing faid 
to the prophets, but what is equally faid to 
the teachers; nor was any thing done by 
the former, but the fame was done by the 

It is pleaded, by the whole body of 
epifcopal writers, that Barnabas and Paul 
were, before this,commiffioned minifters of 
Chrift; and that their prcfent feparation 
was 'only to a fpecial fervice among the 
Gentiles. It is acknowledged; but, at the 
fame time, denied that this makes any real 
alteration in the cafe. For it is to be rc-- 
membred, the thing intended by ordina- - 
tion is not, that the ordainers fhould com— 
million- perfons to do the .work of the rnini- . 

itrv. . 

Scriptural and valid. 33 

ftry. This is done by Chrift. It only be- 
longs to them to declare who thefe perfons 
are, and feparate them to the work to which 
Chrift has commiffioned them. They don't 
make them minifters ; but, being authorifed 
hereto, give them an authentic character 
as fach in the eye of the world. They 
don't confer upon them their authority in 
the gofpel-kingdom ; but let them into the 
exercife of the authority proper to their of- 
fice, with the folemnity the fcriptureefteems 
regular and decent. And it might feem 
good to the holy Ghoft to order, that Bar- 
nabas and Paul, tho' before commiffioned 
and fent by Chrift, fhould yet, at this time, 
be feparated to their work by man, in the 
common and ordinary w r a3 r . Neither of 
them, from anything faid of the matter in 
the facred books, appear to have been thus 
feparated before now ; and as they were 
now feparated to the w r ork to which they 
had been called by impoiition of hands, 
with fafting and prayer, it may with all 
reafon be affirmed, that this feparation was 
a true fcripture-ordination. All the out- 
ward a^Hons common to an ordinntion 
were performed upon this occaiion, and 
particularly that of laying on of hands. 
They were, in a word, feparated to the 
fervice affigned them in the fame way that 
Timothy was feparated to the miniftcrial 

D work, 

34- Ordination by Presbyters 

work, and afterwards feparated others to 
it ; in the fame way Titus was directed to 
ordain elders in the churches at Crete ; yea, 
in the fame way they themfelves ordained 
ciders at Lyftra, Iconium, and Antioch in 
Piildia, and this, while upon the very fer- 
vice they were now ieparated to. And why 
their feparation, at this time, fliould not be 
efteemed as proper a fcripture-ordination 
as their's, which was effecled by the per- 
formance of the fame outward actions, no 
better reafon can be given, than that it will 
not fall in with thefcheme of our opponents. 

It is further objected, this feparation of 
Barnabas and Paul was in confequence of 
an immediate order from the holy Ghoft, 
and therefore a precedent not pleadable but 
in like circumftances. The anfwer is ob- 
vious. ; Both Timothy and Titus were im- 
mediately directed by an apoftle of Jefus 
Chrift, fpeaking to them under the inspira- 
tion of the holy Ghoft, to ordain paftors at 
Ephefus and Crete ; and yet, the objeclors 
themfelves plead thefe initances in fupport 
of the right of bifliops, in their fenfe of the 
word, to ordain ; and this, to the exclufion 
of prefbyters. And if the plea is good on 
their ildc, it is equally fo on our's. I would 
fay further, this objection, inftead of letting 
afidc the inftancc before us as a precedent, 


Scriptural and valid. 


makes it the more ftrongly valid. For it 
cannot be fuppofed, if ordinary teachers 
were unfuitable church-officers to perform 
the bufinefs of ordination, that the holy 
Ghoft would have ordered them to do it. 
And, by his coftimitting this work to them, 
we have an authentic precept, as well as 
example^ for ordination by common tea- 
chers, {landing ordinary paftors of the 
churches. And let n1e acfd here, it is high- 
ly probable, this direction from the holy 
Ghoft, giving rife to this inftance of ordi- 
nation by ordinary teachers, was intended 
for a precedent to the Gentile churches in 
all after times. This was the judgment of 
the learned Dr. Lightfoot. " No better 
reafon, fays he *, can be given of this pre- 
fent action, than that the Lord did hereby 
fet down a platform of ordaining minifters 
to the church of the Gentiles in future 
times. " 

Another inftance to our purpofe we 
have in the cafe of Timothy, who was fe- 
parated to the gofpel-miniftry with the lay- 
ing on of the hands of the preibytery ; as is 
evident from' that exhortation of the apoftle 
Paul add re fled to him, in my text, " Neg- 
lect not the gift that is in thee, which was 
given thee by prophecy, with the laying 
on of the hands of the preibytery : " The 

D 2 meaning 

* Vol. I. page 189. 

36 Ordination by Presbyters 

meaning of which words, compared with 
what is faid upon the matter in 2 Tim. i. 6. 
may, I think, be fully exprelTed in the fol- 
lowing paraphrafe, " Improve the gift of 
the holy Ghoft, which I imparted to you 
in an extraordinary meafure, according to 
the prophefies which went before concern- 
ing you, when you was feparated to the 
work of the miniftry with the laying on of 
the hands of the confiitory of prefbyters. " 

You obferve, I do not interpret the gift 
here faid to be in Timothy of his office as 
a minifter, bat of the communication of 
the holy Ghoft, in an extraordinary man- 
ner qualifying him for it ; which appears 
to me the moft eafy and natural fenfe. You 
obferve likewife, I fpeak of this gift of the 
holy Ghoft as imparted to Timothy, thro' 
the hands of the apoftle Paul, not the hands 
of the prefbytery. There is no certain ex- 
ample of fuch a communication to be met 
with in the new-teftament. Perhaps, the 
holy Ghoft, in the days of the apoftles, was 
never imparted thn> any hands but thofc 
of an apoftle. But fhoukl it have been o- 
therwiie, this was the way of communi- 
cation in the prefent cafe. For the apoftle 
Paul exprefsly fpeaks of this gift * as a gift 
that was in Timothy " by the putting on of 
his hands." Thefe prefbyters therefore did 
1 not 

* 2 Tim. i. 6. 

Scriptural and valid. 37 

not impofe hands on Timothy with a view 
to communicate to him this gift. It was 
imparted wholly thro' the hands of the a- 
poltle Paul. And yet, the presbytery as 
certainly impofed their hands on Timothy 
as Paul impofed his. And why ? No good 
reafon can be afilgned for it but this, that 
they might feparate him to the gofpel-mi- 
niftry in the ordinary way, by ufing the 
fcripture-rite common upon fuch an occa- 
fion. And if it be fuppofed, that this gift 
of the holy Ghoft Was imparted to Timothy 
thro* the hands of Paul, about the time 
that he was feparated to the miniftry by 
the laying on of the hands of the conceflus 
of prefbyters, we (hall have an eafy and 
coniiftent fenfe of this whole affair. 

Th e truth of the cafe feems plainly to 
be this. The apoftle Paul impofed his 
hands on Timothy to communicate to him 
the gift of the holy Ghoil ; and either with 
the apoftle, or, as I rather think, afterwards, 
the council of prefbyters laid on their's, 
feparating him, by this rite, to his work, 
as Paul himfelf, with Barnabas, fome time 
before, had been feparated to their's. And 
very obfervable, it. may be proper to re- 
mark here, is the analogy between this re- 
paration of Timothy, and that of Paul and 
Barnabas. They were feparated by exprefs 



38 Ordination by Presbyters 

dire&ioil from the holy Ghoft J fo was 
Timothy, for he was pointed out by 
prophecy, that is, by holy men propheti- 
cally fpeaking of him by inspiration .of the 
holy Ghoft, as a fit perfon to be employed 
in the fervice of the gofpel. And it was 
probably owing to this, that he was fo 
foon feparated to this work, being, at this 
time, a very young man, and in danger, 
on that account, of being defpifed. They 
were feperated aifo by the laying on of the 
hands of the prophets and teachers, that is, 
the ordinary paitors of the church at Ahti- 
och ; fo was Timothy, by the laying on 
of the hands of the company of prefbyters, 
refiding where he now was. 

But the pertinency of this inftance will 
appear with a brighter luflre, by confider- 
ing the objections that are made to it / as, 
by this means, we fhall have an opportuni- 
ty of going more critically into the exami- 
nation of it. 

It is .objected, the word prefbytery, 
vfte0jtipov, here ufed, means the office 
ordained to, not the confi'ftory of ordaining 
prefbyters. This was Calvin's interpreta- 
tion, when he wrote his inflitutions * ; 


t Says he,"Quod de impofitione manuum prefbyterii dicitur, 
rion ita accipio quafi Paulus de feniorum collegioloquatur ; 

fed hoc nomine ordinationcm ipfam intelligo " . 

Inftitut. lib. 4. cap. 3. fetf. 16. 

Scriptural and valid. 39 

tho' afterwards, in his commentary upon 
this text, having attained to greater matu- 
rity of judgment, he fell in with the com- 
monly received fenfe £. The other, by 
whomfoever it is given, will exhibit a 
down-right piece of nonfenfe, unlefs the 
fubftantive *£effrr*#w is made the genitive 
cafe, not to the immediately foregoing 
word xs^wy,but to that far diftant one x<*^**or 
and the text be accordingly read, " Neglect 
not the gift of the prefbyteratua which 
was given thee by the laying on of hands/' 
But this grammatical tranfpofition is arbi- 
trary beyond all reafonable bounds. And 
fhould the like liberty be taken in other 
cafes, we might make the fcripture fpeak, 
in any ; place, juft what we pleafe. Befides, 
the word Tps^ure ? ;oy is never ufed in this 
fenfe in the new-tertament ; but always as 
fi gnifying " concefTus, fenatus prefbytero- 
rum. , . This alfo is it's meaning in the wri- 
tings of the fathers, as may be feen in the fa- 
mous Blondell's " apologia pro fententia 
Hyeronimi. " f And this is its meaning 
particularly in Ignatius's epiflles, whofe 
authority will not be queftioned by thofe 
we are at prefent concerned with. He often 
ufes this word, and never in any other fenfe. 


J " Prefbyterium.] Qui hie colle&'vum nomen cfle putant, 
pro collegio prefbyterorum pofitura, reele feotiunt rneo 
judicio. " In loc. 

f Page 89, 90. 

40 Ordination by Presbyters 

But fhould we allow this pretended fenfe 
of the word to be the true one, and, in con- 
fequence hereof, that Timothy was ordain- 
ed, not by an aifembly of prefbyters, but 
to the degree of the prefbyterate ; inftead of 
helping the caufeof our opponents, it would, 
unluckily for them, very much ferve our's. 
For Timothy, according to this interpreta- 
tion, was, at the time, when this epiftle 
was wrote, nothing more than a prefby.ter, 
whatever he might be afterwards : And yet, 
he is particularly apply'd to, in the epiftle 
itfelf, as one intruded with the power of 
ordination,and accordingly inftrufted to ufe 
caution and prudence in the management 
of this truft, " not fuddenly laying hands 
on any man." And if Timothy, while a 
meer prefbyter,was fpoken of, by an infpir- 
ed apoftle, as one vefted with ordaining 
power, it is as good a proof of the power 
we are eftablifhing,as if he was ordained by 
a confiftory of prefbyters. 

'Tis again faid, by the prcfbytcry here 
is intended, not an affembly of presby- 
ters, but the college of apodles. So i peak 
Chryfoftom, Theophilus, Theodoret, Oe- 
cumenius, and after them fuch learned men 
as Dr. Hammond, Mr. Drury, and fome 
others; but, as we imagine, without any 
fufiicient reafod to fupport this fenfe of the 


Scriptural and valid. 41 

word. It is indeed afenfe that carries with 
it not the leaft probability of truth. The 
apoftle Peter, 'tis true, introduces an ex- 
hortation to Prefbyters, by taking to him- 
felf the ftile of a fellow-prefbyter, fi*- 
7rpt<r3vTs ? cs * • but the apoftles, in a colle&ive 
view, are never once fpoken of, in thenew- 
teftament, as a prefbytery ; nor is the word, 
*peap-jT*piov, ever ufed by any ancient writer 
( as Mr. Boyfe obferves ) to fignify the 
bench of apoftles. Far from this, when 
met together in council at Jerufalem, upon 
a fpecial occafion, with the elders; they 
are carefully and particularly diftinguifhed 
from them, every time they are mentioned. ij: 
Nor can it well be imagined, if the other 
apoftles had joined with Paul in laying their 
hands on Timothy, either for imparting 
the holy Ghoft, or feparating him to the 
gofpel-miniftry, that this humble apoftle 
would have omitted mentioning their names, 
fince he fo exprefsly mentions his own. 
Befides, there is not the leaft reafon to think, 
tjiiat either all, or moft, or any confiderable 
number of the apoftles were together at 
this time. 'Tis far more likely, from the 
hiftory we have in the a£ts of their travels, 
and difperfions from each other, that Paul 
only was now prefent, and that the pref- 
bytery that laid their hands on Timothy 
was not the company of apoftles, but fuch 

E presbyters 

* 1 Pet, v. 1. % Atfs xvth chap. 

42 Ordination by Presbyter* 

presbyters as they had confiituted in the fe- 
deral churches. 

But fhould it be fuppofed, that the apof- 
ties were now together, and that this pref* 
bytery was the afTembly of apoftles, it 
would be of no real fervice to the epifcopai 
caufe. For 'tis plain, they acted not, in 
their apoilolrcal character, but as presbyters. 
Why elfe are they called a presbytery ? It 
cannot reafonably be thought, if the holy 
Ghoft intended to declare, in this text, that 
Timothy was oidained by apoftolical au- 
thority ,and not that which is veiled in pref- 
byters, he would fo exprefsfy have fpoken 
of the apoftles as acting in this affair as a 
presbytery. It fhould rather feem evident 
from hence, that the work they now did 
was common and ordinary, and fuch as 
might be done by thefe officers, under 
whofe fty le they are reprefented as perform-- 
rh'g this a&ion. 

Finally, it is pleaded, that Timothy 
was veiled with his office by the laying on 
of the apoftle Paul's hands, while the con- 
iifrory of presbyters, by impofing their's, 
only gave their concurring approbation. 
And for the proof of this we are turned ro 
2 Tim. i. 6. where Paul, calling upon Ti- 
mothy " to ftir up the gift that was in him," 


Scriptural and valid. 43 

adds, " which is in thee by the putting on 
of my hands. " 

The anfwer is eafy. This fame apoftle 
attributes as much to the hands of the prci- 
bytery in 1 Tim. 4. 14, as he does to his 
own hands in the place referred to in his 
fecond ep'.ftle ; and conf -quenriy there is 
jufr the fame reafon to fay, that the pret 
bytery ordained Timothy, as that Paul or- 
dained him. Befides, it cannot be reafo- 
itably fuppofed, that an infpired apoitle 
flionld permit a number of presbyters to 
join with him in the faered folemnity of 
impofing hands, if they had not a right, as 
officers in the church of Chrift, to perform 
this action ; and their performing it is a 
fure argument of their right to do the thing 
intended by it, that is, to feparate a perfon 
to the work of the gofpei-miniitry : As 
they that have a right to apply water in the 
name of the Father, and the Son, and the 
holy Gholr, have a right to baptife ; and 
they that have a right to fet apart bread 
and wine, and dtftribute it to the people, 
have a right to adminilter the Lord's (upper. 

But the truth of the matter is, it is far 
from being evident, that Paul impofed 
hands with the presbytery in Timothy's 
ordination ; and I am ftrongly inclined to 

E 2 think 

44 Oadination by Presbyters 

think he did not. The gift the apoftle 
fpeaks of, in his fecond epiftle to Timothy, 
which, fays he, " is in thee by the putting 
on of my hands," was undoubtedly the gift 
of the holy Ghoft in miraculous powers ; 
but whatever the gift wag, it was imparted 
by the apoftle's own hands. Not a word 
is faid of the presbytery, or any perfon 
whatever, as joining with him, not fo 
much as in a way of concurring approba- 
tion. Whereas, in the pafTage we are now. 
confidering, recorded in the firft epiftle, 
the thing that was done, whatever it was, 
was done with the laying on of the hands 
of the presbytery. Their hands only are 
mentioned, not a word is drop'd inilnuating 
that Paul's hands were joined with their's., 
It is therefore highly probable, if not cer- 
tain, that Paul impoied hands on Timothy 
to confer the gift of the holy Ghoft, which 
was ufually, if not always, done by fome 
apoftle in this way; and that the presbytery 
afterwards laid on their hands for another 
purpofe, that of feparating him to the work 
of the miniftry, which alfo was ufually 
done in this way. 

Or if it fhould be ftill faid, that Paul 
laid hands on Timothy at the fame time the 
presbytery impofed their's, he did it prin- 
cipally that through his hands, being an 
cpolllc, the holy Ghoft might be imparted 


Scriptural and valid. 4.5 

to him ; they, that he might, in the ordi- 
nary method, ^be feparated to the gofpet- 
miniftry. So that, in either of thefe ways, 
wc have an evident inftance of ordination 
by presbyters. In the former, they were 
fole ordainers ; in the latter, ordainers ia 
partnerfhip with the apoftlePaul. 

I can't help faying here, if, inftead of f 
" the laying on of the hands of the pref- 
bytery, " it had been wrote, " the lay- 
ing on of the hands of the epifcopate, " 
our opponents would have triumphed in 
having an unexceptionable inftance of 
epifcopal ordination. But this occaiion 
of glorving is happily taken away. And 
it is remarkable, tho' we have examples, 
in fcripture, of ordination by both extraor- 
dinary and ordinary officers, by apoftles, 
by prophets, by evangclifts, by teachers 
or common pallors and presbyters; yet we 
no where read of an ordination by any 
perfon under the name of a bifhop. There 
is a total filence throughout the new-telta- 
ment upon this head. This obfervation, 
to nfe the words of your worthy Divinity- 
profeflbr, in a book of his, relative to this 
controver.fy, wrote near 40 years ago, enti- 
tled, " fober remarks," and which I would 
recommend to your diligent perufal, " This 
obfervation, fays he, * " may perhaps draw 

" fome 

* Page 115. 

46 Ordination by Presbyters 

cc fome weak perfons into doubts about the 

" validity of epifcopal ordination. — But the 

" truth of the cafe is, that bifhops and 

4< presbyters are one and the fame order by 

" divine inftitution ; and that they iucceed 

" the apoftles, in all their ordinary 

u powers, of which that of ordination is 

" one; which is warrant enough for ordi- 

" nation by presbyters, and the very fame 

11 warrant which thofe have for it, who 

M are now, by cuftom and human conftw 

" tution, dignified and diftinguifhed with 

'* the title of bifhops." 

I have now confidered the argument 
at firft propofed, in all its parts. And the- 
fum of what has been faid, that we may 
have it in one view, is this; that the apof- 
tles of Chrift, in confequence of their com- 
miffion from him, and as afting under the 
infpiration of the holy Ghoft, conftituted 
and fettled in the church, befides the order 
of deacons, no more than one order of 
fixed pallors; that they promifcuoufly 
point out the paftors of this one order by 
the names bifhop and presbyter, fometimes 
ufing the former, fometimes the latter, and 
meaning by either precifely thefe paftors 
of one and the fame order ■ and finally that 
they give us abundant reafon to believe, 
that thefe paflors of this one order were 


Scriptural a$d valid. 47 

endowed particularly with the power of 
ordination, inftances whereof they have 
left upon facred record. The conclufion 
from which premifes, if they have been 
clearly and fully evidenced to be true, as 
I trull they have, is unqueftionably this, 
that ordination by presbyters, according 
to the ufual method in thefe churches, is 
fafe and valid, becaufe agreeable to the holy 
fcriptures, and warranted by them. 

But notwithftanding all that has been 
offered in proof of the point we have been 
upon, it ought not, it is acknowledged, to 
be received as truth, unlefs the contrary 
evidence can fairly be fet afide. This 
therefore makes it neceflary to confider 
what is pleaded on the other fide of the 
queftion. And this I fhall now do, giving 
what is faid its full ftrength, fo far as I am 
able. For if the counter-evidence, in it's 
full weight, will not admit of a juft and 
folid anfwer, we ought, in all reafon, to 
eftecm the above proof to be defective, 
how plaufible foever it may appear in a 
feparate view. 

Th e firft thing faid in favor of the fupe- 
riority of bifhops to presbyters, and in vin- 
dication of their claim to the powers of 
ordination and government is, that they 


48 Ordination by Presbyt&rs 

are fucceffors to the apoftles, and derive 
from them this fnperiority of order and 

The anfwer is ready. The apoftles, 
as fuch, were extraordinary officers, and 
had no fucceffors. They received their 
commiffion immediately from Chrift, their 
charge was unlimited, their province the 
whole world. They were, by office, the 
teachers of all nations, had power to gather 
churches every where, to fettle them with 
proper officers, to infpeft over them, and 
give binding rules and orders for the good 
government of them ; and all this, under 
the infallible guidance of the. holy Ghoft. 
It will not be pretended, I truft, that bi- 
fhops, in thefe refpeds, are fucceffors to 
the apoftles. In their proper apoftolic cha- 
radler, they were far exalted above all bi- 
fhops. As the great Dr. Barrow expreffes 
it, ( to adapt his words to the prefent cafe ) 
" It would be a difparagement to an apof- 
" tie to take upon him the bifhoprick of 
" Rome j as it would be to the king, to 
" become mayor of London ; or to the bi- 
" (hop of London, to become vicar of Pan- 
" crals. ■* The apoftolic office, as fuch, 
was perfonal and temporary ; not fuccei- 
five and communicable : Neither did the 
apoftles communicate it. Thofe parts in- 

Scriptural and valid. 49. 

deed of their office which were ordinary, 
and intended for perpetual ufe, fuch as 
feeding the church of God with the word 
and facraments,and reflraining them within 
the rules of good order, were communica- 
ted from them to others. We have accor- 
dingly feen, that they appointed {landing 
pallors in the churches, veiling them with 
all the powers proper for the work of the 
miniftry, for the edifying the body ofChrifl. 
And in a lax fenfe, thefe may be called fuc- 
ceflbrs to the apoflles, as having derived 
their power from them in Chrifl's name. 
And in this loofe fenfe only may bifhops be 
faid to be fucceffors to the apoflles. They 
certainly do not fucceed them in their office, 
confidered as apoflolic; but in fuch powers 
of it only as are ordinary and communica- 
ble. And here they are perfectly upon a 
par with common paflors or prefbyters, 
unlefs it can be proved, that the apoflles in 
communicating thefe powers, made a dif- 
ference, committing fome to a fuperior or- 
der called bifhops, and others to an inferior 
one defcribed by the name of prefbyters. 
This is what we may reafonably expeft to 
fee evidenced. The new-teflament is o- 
pen. If it contains any fuch evidence, 
let it be produced. We imagine it contains 
clear evidence of the contrary, and that we 
have given fuch evidence. Meerly the cal~ 

P ling 

50 Ordination by Presbytfrs 

ling bifhops fucceflfors to the apoftles won't 
prove their Superiority ; tho\ by the way r 
they are never fo called in the facred books. 
And fhould it be allowed, that the fathers, 
in after times, Speak of them in this ftile, 
it can be in a loofe fenfe only ; meaning, 
that apoftolic power had been communica- 
ted to them, tho' what that power was, can 
never be determined meerly by their being 
called the apoftles fucceffors. The bible 
only can fettle this point. 

It is further faid, in defence of the' epis- 
copal fcheme, that Timothy and Titus 
were bifhops, the one of Ephefus, the other 
of Crete, meaning hereby officers of a rank 
Superior to the other paftors of the churches 
in thofe places, with whom, as fuch, were 
lodged the powers of ordination and juris- 

'Tis reply'd, they are neither of them 
called bifhops any where in the new-tefta- 
ment. This name, 'tis true, is given them 
in the poftfcripts to the epiftlcs that are di- 
rected to them. But I need not fay, that 
thefe poftfcripts are after-additions, and not 
very ancient ones neither. This is Suffici- 
ently known to all men of learning, who 
accordingly lay no ftrefs upon them. 'Tisr 
true likewifc, that they are called bifhops, 


Scriptural and valid. 51 

the one of Ephefus, the other of Crete, by 
the fathers ; but not by the more primitive 
ones. Dr. Whitby honeftly confefles, $ 
that " he could not find, within the three 
firft centuries, any intimations that they 
bore this name. " He adds indeed, " this 
defeat is abundantly fupplyed by the con- 
Current fuffrage ofthe4thand 5th centuries." 
But thefe were times too far diftant from 
Timothy and Titus to be rely'd on forihe 
truth of this fa£t ; efpecially, as, in thefe 
times, they had greatly departed from the 
fimplicity of the gofpel. And 'tis obferva- 
ble, Eufebius, the great fource of primitive 
eccleiiaftical hiftory, only fays, " it is re- 
ported, " i<7Tops/r*t * dicitur, " that Timo- 
thy was bifhop of Ephefus, and Titus 
bifhop of Crete. " And he has himfelf 
taught us, how far we may depend upon 
this report, by what he tells us a little be- 
fore, § " that he could trace no foot-fteps 
of others going before him, only in a few 
narratives." And the fuffrage of thefe cen- 
turies is the lefs to be regarded, in this par- 
ticular, becaufe it does not agree with the 
fcripture-account of Timothy and Titus. 
Timothy is exprefsly called" an evangelift," 
2 Tim. iv. 6. And his work, as fuch, was in^ 
confident with his being the bifhop of Ephe- 
fus, or any other church. The bufinefs of 

F 2 an 

X Preface to the epiftle to Titus, * Lib. III. can, 4. 
$ Lib. I. cap. ji. 

52 Ordination by Presbyters 

an evangelift, as Eufebius J juftly reprefents 
it, was, u to lay the foundation of faith in 
" ftrange nations,to conftitute them paftors ; 
" and, having committed to them the cul- 
11 tivating thofe new plantations, to pais 
11 on to other countries and nations." And 
this defcription of evangelifts" perfectly a- 
grees with what the fcripture fays both of 
Timothy and Titus. They evidently ap- 
pear to have been itinerant miflionaries, not 
fettled paftors. To be fnre, they fuftained 
no fixed relation to the churches of Ephefus 
and Crete, and confeqnently were not the 
bifhops of therri ; for they continually went 
about from place to place, as the fervice of 
the churches made it neceffary, and were 
as long, and it may be longer, in other 
churches than thofe that are faid to be their 
fettled charge. And would any man, as Mr. 
Boyfb expreffes it,f " call him thefixtbifhop 
of London that fhould only perform the 
epifcopal functions there for a year or two, 
but for twenty or thirty years is found to 
perform the fame epifcopal functions in 
moft other diocefes of England, nay in ma- 
ny diocefes in France, Spain and Italy ?" 
Can fuch an itinerary miniftry as this con- 
fift with a man's fixt relation to a particu- 
lar church, which enjoys no more of his 
labors and care than twenty or thirty 
churches more ? But 

\ Lib. III. cap. 37. 

f " Account of the ancient epifcopacy, " page 331, 

Scriptural- and .valid.* 53 

But the flrength of the argument from 
Timothy and Titus chiefly lies in this, that 
they were charged with the management 
of ordination at Ephefus and Crete. Titus 
particularly was left in Crete with a profef- 
fed view to his ordaining elders in the cities 
there. The anfwer is, it will not from 
hence follow, that they were veiled With 
an exclulive power of ordination. I argue 
upon the matter thus ; either elders had 
been- fettled before this Sift the churches at 
Ephefus and Crete, or they had not ; and 
whether our opponents proceed upon the 
former, or latter of thefe fuppofitions, their 
reafoning is inconclufive. 

If elders had been fettled. in thefe chur- 
ches, the confequence is far from being jufl, 
Timothy and Titus were particularly en- 
trutled with the affair of ordination in thefe 
churches, therefore the power was in them 
exclufive of the Handing pallors. By this 
way of arguing, they mull have been fole 
preachers, as well as ordainers ; for they 
are as particularly charged to do the work 
of preaching, as that of ordaining. And 
by this fame method of reafoning, the 
church of Rome mud be ju (lifted in their 
plea for Peter's fupremacy ; for there are 
not wanting texts of fcripture, in which he 
is particularly apply'd to, and charged with 


5+ Ordination by Presbyters 

inftru&ions and orders without mentioning 
the other apoftles. The plain truth is, as 
thefe svangelifts were afliftants to the a- 
poftles, and left in thofe churches extraor- 
dinarily qualified to fupply their place, it 
was proper they fhould have particularly 
committed to them the chief management 
of ordination, and all other affairs pertain- 
ing to the kingdom of Chrift, while they 
continued among them. But how does 
this prove, that, when they were gone, as 
was foon the cafe, this fame work might 
not be done by the Handing paftors ? Or 
that the flanding paftors might not, or that 
they did not, join with them in doing it, 
while they were a&ually prefent ? Tis 
far more probable that they did, than that 
they did not* Timothy's ordination by 
the confiftory of presbyters would natural- 
ly put him upon going into the like prac- 
tice. To be fure, fome pofitive good e\> 
dence ought to be given, tlw he did not, 
and that the power of ordinatiop was folely 
and exclufively vefted in him, 

The other fuppofition was that of there 
being no fettled paftors in thefe churches, 
when thefe inflru&ions were given to Ti- 
mothy and Titus. And in this view of the 
faft, I fee not but the difpute muft be at 
once ended ; for their being directed to or- 

Scriptural and valid. 55 

dain pallors in churches that as yet had 
none, can't poffibly prove, that thefe paf- 
tors, when ordained, might not ordain o- 
thers alfo. And perhaps this is the real 
truth of the cafe. I am well affured, it 
will be found, upon trial, to be an infupe- 
rable talk to make it appear, that either of 
thefe churches, at this time, were fettled 
with pallors. They were, moll probably, 
in the fame imperfect Hate with the chur- 
ches of Ly lira, Iconium, andAntioch, be- 
fore Barnabas and Paul, upon their return 
to them, ordained them elders. And, it 
may be, as Dr. Benfon well obferves, * 
moll of the churches the apolllePaul writes 
to were in the fame imperfe6l unfettled ftate, 
at the time when he wrote to them. 

I shall only add here, as Timothy and 
Titus were evangelills, they had no fuccef- 
fors ; or if they had, fixed bifhops could not 
be their fucceflbrs. Nor will it follow, be- 
cause thefe evangelills were left at Ephefus 
and Crete to manage the affair of ordination, 
thajt therefore bifhopfe, any more than pref- 
byters, have this power. It mull firll be 
proved, and upon the foot of good evidence, 
that bifhops, meaning hereby officers in 
the church fuperior to presbyters, were fix- 

* Eflay at the end of his paraphrafe and note on the epiftle 
of Paul to Timothy, page So. 

56 Ordination Br Presbyters 

ed in thefe places, and that the ordaining 
power was lodged with them, to the exclu- 
llon of presbyters \ which has never yet 
been done, and I am fully perfuaded never 

It is pleaded yet further, that the angels 
of the feven Allan churches, in the book 
of the Revelation, were bifhops ; that is, 
fuch bifhops as the prefent argument is con- 
cerned with, or they are mentioned to no 
purpofe. But how does it appear, that 
thefe angels were bifhops in this fenfe ? If 
the w T ord is here ufed collectively, meaning 
the paftors of thefe churches, and not a 
fingle one in each church, the argument is 
at once fuperfeded. And it ought to be 
thus understood. Such an expofition bed 
agrees with the manner of fpeaking thro'- 
out this whole book, in which like words 
are commonly ufed in this collective fenfe. 
Nor, unlefs the word is thus interpreted, 
will the other pallors of thefe churches have 
any concern in the meffages that are lent 
to the churches, which it would be highly 
unrcafonable to fuppofe. But, if every one 
of thefe angels fhould be allowed to mean 
a fingle perfon, how will it follow here- 
from, that they were bifhops verted with 
the fole power of ordination and govern- 
ment in thefe churches ? The word angel 




catries In it's meaning nothing that im- 
ports this ; nor is there any thing faid, in 
the epiftles themfelves, from whence it can 
be deduced. The argument therefore muft 
be wholly grounded on this, that thefe an- 
gels are fingled out, and particularly wrote 
to. But this they might be, fuppofing 
there was no greater diitinftion between 
them and the other paftors, than between 
Peter and the other apoftles ; between rec- 
tors and curates ; between an aflembly of 
equal minifters and their prsefes. In fhort, 
it mud be proved by other evidence than 
what is contained in the word angel, or 
the application of this word to a fingle 
perfon, if proved at all, that bifhops were 
hereby intended, meaning by bifhops of- 
ficers in thefe churches endowed with the 
fole power of ordination and govern- 
ment ; w r hich evidence has never yet been 

The laft plea, and that which is trium- 
phed In as decifive, is the fuffrage of all 
antiquity in favor of bifhops, as an order of 
men in the church fuperior to presbyters, 
to whom belonged the powers of ordina- 
tion and government. 

But, before I come to this plea, it may 
be proper juft to obferve ; that we are now 

G difputing 

58 Ordination by Presbyters 

difputing againft the epifcopal fcheme, and 
particularly that branch of it, the confining 
ordination to bifhops, not as a mecr eccle- 
fiaftical appointment, [a prudential expe- 
dient ; but as an inftitution of Jefns Chrift, 
and, an inftitution of his eflentially connec- 
ted with the validity of gofpel-adminiftra- 
tions. And in this view of the matter, the 
demand, we imagine, is highly reasonable, 
" what faith the fcripture i " It is to little 
purpofe to tell us of the fathers, and that it 
is uninterruptedly handed down from them 
as a facl, that bifhops werefuperior to pref- 
byters, and had the fole right of ordination. 
This cannot make epifcopal-ordination nc- 
ceflary to the validity of gofpel-ordinances. 
It muft be conftituted neceflary, if fo at all, 
by the revelations of God, and in fair and 
legible characters too. We may, with all 
reafon, expert to find both the confiitution 
itfelf, and it's neceflity, delivered in the 
(acred books, not by innuendoes, far-fetch'd 
arguments, or probable conjectures ; but 
with fo much pofitive clearnefs, and exprefs 
affirmation, as to leave no reafonable room 
for doubt. And there would now be no 
need of testimonies from the fathers. It 
would indeed be difhonorary to the focred 
icriptures, and a grofs reflection on them as 
not being a perfect and fuffkient rule, if we 
might not, without traditionary helps from 


Scriptural and valid. 


the elders, depend on them for the eflen- 
tials of falvation. And, coniidering the 
fentiments of our Saviour concerning the 
traditions handed down to the Jews from 
their elders, this kind of tradition feems to 
be one of the lad things fuitable to be re- 
curred to, in order to our knowing what 
is neceflarily conne&ed with true chriftia- 

Having remark'd this, I come to confi- 
der the plea that is fo much gloried in, as 
carrying with it even demonftration. And, 
that it might lole none of it's ftrength, I 
(hall give it you in the words of the cele- 
brated bifhopHoadly, who has wrote, per- 
haps, in as mafterly a way, upon this fide 
of the controverfy, as any who have hand- 
led it. In his book entitled, " The rea- 
fonablenefs of conformity to the church of 
England, " in order to prove, " that the 
apoftles left the power of ordaining prefby- 
ters in the hands of fix'd bifhops, " he fays,* 
1 This being a matter of fad, part many 
6 ages ago, the only method by which 
' we can come to the knowledge of it, is 
i the teftimony of writers who liv'd in 
6 that, and the following ages. And there 
' is the more reafon to rely upon their tefti- 
' mony in this cafe, becaufe this is a matter 
' ofafimple, uncompounded nature, per- 

G 2 feaiy 

* Page 326, 327. 


u fe&ly within their knowledge; not (land* 

** ing in need of any curious nicencfs of 
learning, or reafoning, but level to all 
capacities ; a matter in which they 
might very eafily have been contradicted, 
had they reprefented it falfly ; and a mat?- 
ter in which they could not in the firft 

*J ages be biafs'd by Intereft. And here — - 
I think I may fay, that we have as univerr 
fal and as unanimous a teftimony of all 
writers, and hiftorians from the apoftles 
days, as could reafonably be expelled, 
or defired : Every one who fpeaks of the 
government of the church in any place, 
witneffing thatepifcopacy was the fettled 
form ; and every one who hath occaiion 
to fpeak of the original of it, tracing it 

+' up to the apoftles days, and fixing it up- 
on their decree ; and what is very remar- 
kable, no one contradicting this, either 
of the friends or enemies to chriftianity, 

* c either of the orthodox, or heretical, thro* 
thole ages, in which only inch aflertions 
concerning this matter of fad could well 
be difprov'd." — " Were there only tefti- 
monies to be produc'd, that this was the 
government of the church in all ages, it 
would be but reafonable to conclude it 
of apoftolical inftitution ; it being fa 
highly improbable that fo material a 
poiac fhould be eftablifhed without their 

M advice 







i t 

Scriptural and valid. 6i 

M advice or decree,when we find the chur- 

M ches confulting them upon every occa- 

** fion, and upon matters not of greater 

" importance than this. But when wc find 

" the fame perfons witnefling not only 

" that the government of the church was 

" epifcopal, but that it was of apoftolical 

f ' inftitution, and delivered down from the 

" beginning as fuch, this adds weight to 

the matter, and makes it more undoubt- 

" ed. So that here are two points to 

" which they bear witnefs, that this was 

* the government of the church in their 

** days, and that it was of apoftolical inftt- 

** tution. And in thefe there is fuch a con- 

H ftancy, and unanimity, that even St. Je- 

" rome himfelf ( who was born near 250 

" years after the apoftles, and is the chief 

" perfon in all that time whom the prefby- 

** terians cite for any purpofe of their's ) 

*' traces up epifcopacy to the very apoftles* 

" and makes it of their inftitution ; and in 

" the very place where he moft exalts pref- 

" byters, he excepts ordination as a work 

* f always peculiar to bifhops." — He lays, 

a little further on f, — - " The teftimony 

" we fpeak of, is not concerning the apof- 

" tolical inftitution of the exorbitant power 

■ ' claimed by later bifhops, or of any ex- 

" ternal enfigns of worldly grandeur, or 
K riches appropriated to them : But meerlv 

* of 
t Page 338. 

62 Ordination by Presbyters 

" of the inftitution of one perfon to ordain 
" and govern prefbyters, within fuch or 
" fuch a diftrift, and according to the de- 
" fignand rules of chriftianity." — He adds, 
f " All churches and chriftians, as far as 
" we know, feem to have been agreed in 
•' " this point, amidft all their other diffe- 
" rences, as univerfally as can well be 
" imagined. " 

Had I met with this reprefentation of 
ancient teftimony in a declamatory fecond- 
hand writer, who knew little himfelf, and 
only retailed, in a flourifhing manner, what 
he had heard from this and the other party- 
zealot, it would not have been furprifing ; 
but it really was fo, to find a truly great 
and defervedly renowned author bringing 
in the ancient fathers, univerfally, unani- 
moufly, and conftantly affirming it to be 
fad, and this in all ages from the apoftles, 
that " the government of the church was 
epifcopat," and " of apoftolical inftitution ; " 
yea, and that it was " of apoftolical infti- 
tution too, that one perfon fhould ordain 
and govern prefbyters within a certain dil- 
trift." One would imagine, from this re- 
prefentation, that, if the writings of the 
fathers were confulted, epifcopacy, both 
the thing, and the divine inftitution of it, 
would fo glaringly appear to have been 


t ^gc 339. 

Scriptural and valid. 63 

acknowledged by all the fathers, in all ages 
from the beginning, that there would be 
no room left for the leaft debate upon the 

And is this the truth of faft ? We fhall 
foon fee whether it is, or no. In order 

whereto let it be obferved. 

A distinction ought always to be 
made between the two firft centuries, and 
the fucceeding ones ; for the difference be- 
tween the writers in thefe centuries, as 
witnefTes in the prefent caufe, is both 
obvioufly and certainly very great. Per- 
haps, due attention has not been given to 
this diftinftion by the difputants on either 
fide of the queltion in debate. Sir Peter 
King's " account of the primitive church," 
is, it may be, as impartial an one as any 
extant ; but it would, as I apprehend, have 
been lefs faulty, and more perfect, if he 
had kept in his eye this diftinftion thro' the 
whole of his work. Nor have any of the 
writers on our fide of the difpute, fo far as 
I have had opportunity to read them, ma- 
naged the caufe with the advantage they 
might have done, if they had particularly 
pointed out the difference between the two 
firft and following centuries, and made the 
ufe of it they might have done to their 
purpofe. It 


It is readily acknowledged, the name 
bifhop, towards the clofe of the fecond cen- 
tury began to be an appropriated term ; 
Signifying fomething more than the word 
prefbyter. In the third century, and on- 
wards, the appropriation was common. 
Bifhop and prefbyter pointed out officers in 
the church diftinft from each other ; tho' 
to fay precifely what, and how great, this 
diflindion was, will, I believe, be found to 
be exceeding difficult. It was undoubtedly 
fmall at firft. The bifhop was no more than 
" primus inter pares," the " head-prefby ter," 
the "praefes" of the confiftory. And it w r as 
by gradual fteps that he attained to that 
dignity and power with which he was af- 
terwards veiled. Thofe ecclefiaftical fu- 
periorities and inferiorities which have, for 
a long time, been vifible in the chriftian 
world, were unknown in the firft and 
purefl ages. Nor did they at once take 
place. It was the work of time. From 
prime-prefbyters arofe city-bifhops ; from 
city-bifhops, diocefan ones ; from diocefan 
bifhops, metropolitans ; from metropolitans, 
patriarchs ; and finally, at the top of all, 
his holinefs the pope, claiming the cha- 
racter of universal head of the church. 
But to return to the diflinftion between 
bifhops and presbyters in the centuries im- 
mediately following the fecond. And it is 


Scriptural and valid. 6c 

own'd, there was a diftin&ion between 
them ; but, at the fame time, utterly de- 
nied, that the fathers are universal, and 
unanimous, in affirming it for fad, that it 
was a diftin&ion importing a fuperiority of 
order, or that it was of apoftolical inllitu- 
tion. The learned profeffor Jamefon, in 
his Cyprianuslfotimus, is pofitive in decla- 
ring, * that even " Cyprian did not be- 
lieve the divine right of epifcopacy ; " and 
that " he, with his colleagues, mod clearly 
depofe, that bifhop and presbyter, are, by 
Chrift's mftitutiop, reciprocally one and the 
fame. " More full to our purpofe is what 
I find related, in Calamy's defence of non- 
conformity,:]: from the renowned Dr. Ray- 
nolds. The account is, " Dr. Bancroft, 
afterwards Arch-bifhop of Canterbury, 
preaching at Paul's crofs, told his auditory, 
that Aerius was condemned of herefy, with 
the confent of the univerfal church, for 
aflerting that there was no difference, by 
divine right, between a bifhop and a pref- 
byter ; and that the puritans were condem- 
ned, by the church, in Aerius. The fa- 
mous Sir Francis Knolls, being furprifed at 
fuch do&rine, to which they were not in 
that day, fo much ufed as we have been 
fince, wrote to the learned Dr. Johh Rey- 
nolds, who was univerfally reckoned the 
wonder of his age, to defire his fenfe about 

H the 

* Chap. 14. J Page 87, 88, 

66 Ordination by Presbyters 

the matter. The Doctor wrote him word 
in anfwer, that even Bellarmine the Jefuti 
owned the weaknefs of the anfwer of Epi- 
phanius to the argument of Aerius ; that 
Auftin efteemed theaffertion of Aerius he- 
retical, meerly becaufe he found it fo re? 
prefented by Epiphanius ; and that Auftin 
himfelf owned, that there was no difference 
between abifhop and a presbyter by divine 
right. He cites alfo bifhop Jewel, who ? 
when Harding had alTerted the fame thing 
as Dr. Bancroft, alledged againft him Chry- 
foftom, Auftin, Jerom, and Ambrofe. He 
mentions, from Medina, feveral other ai> 
cient fathers ; and further adds himfelf, 
Oecumenius, Anfelm arch-bifhop of Can- 
terbury, another Anfelm, Gregory, and 
Gratian. " And bifhop StiHingfleet, who 
-appears to have been as well read in the 
fathers as any man in his day, or ilnce, free- 
ly fays, * " I believe, upon the ftrifteft 
enquiry, Medina's judgment will prove 
true, that Jerom, Auftin, Ambrofe, Sedu-; 
Jius, Primafius, Chryfoftom, Theodoret, 
Thcophylaft, were all of Aerius' s judgment, 
as to the identity of both name and order 
pf bifhops and presbyters in the primitive 
church. " And again, a little onwards, f> 
" I do as yet defpair of finding anyone 
fmgle teftimony in all antiquity, which 
doth in plain terms aflert epifcopacy, as it 


* Iren. pa£e 276. \ Page 31. 

Scriptural and valid. 67 

was fettled by the practice of the primitive 
church, in the ages following the apoftles* 
to be of unalterable divine right. " If any 
regard is to be paid to the judgment of 
thefe celebrated writers, who had made it 
their bufinefs to ttudy the fathers, one 
would think there was reafon, at leaft, to 
fufpecl, whether the evidence in favor of 
epifcopacy,as an apoftolical inftitution, is fo 
univerfal and conftant as has been affirmed. 

But, leaving thefe later centuries, let 
us go back to the two firft. And we may, 
with the more pertinency, do this, as the 
famous bifhop, whofe plea we are conllder- 
ing, has faid, J " We do not argue meerly 
" from the teftimony of fo late writers as 
" thefe (meaning Jerom and Auftin ) that 
epifcopacy is of apoftolical inftitution. 
We grant k doth not follow, St. Jerom 
thought fo, therefore it is fo. But wri- 
" ters of all ages in the church witnefs, that 
** this was the government in their days ; 
6t that it was inftituted by the apoftles,and 
" delivered down as fuch. All that we 
" produce St. Jerom for in this cafe, is that 
" it was in his time, and that he believed 
" it to be apoftolical, and received it as 
fuch: But without the teftimony cf the 
ages before him, Ifhould not efteem thisa 
" fuflicient argument that it was really fo." 

H z And 

t p *£ c 349- 


68 Ordination by Presbyters 

An d do the fathers, in the two firft ages, 
witnefs what they are thus peremptorily 
faid ' to do ? I was at the pains, in my 
younger years, to read thefe fathers, par- 
ticularly with a view to this controverfy, 
and am obliged to fay, upon my own 
knowledge of the matter, that the above 
reprefentation is really a miftake, and a very 
great one too ; which I candidly attribute 
to inattention, or fome undifcerned preju^ 
dice of mind. Would the time permit, I 
could give you the whole of what is faid, 
relative to the plea before us, by Barnabas, 
Hermas, Poly carp, Clement of Rome, Juftin 
Martyr, Irenasus, and Clement of Alexan- 
dria, all writers in the two firft centuries, 
and fatisfy you from the very words of 
thefe fathers themfelves, that they give no 
fuch evidence as is here pretended. But ic 
mull: fuifice to fay at prefent, 

That, Ignatius only excepted, the fa- 
thers, within the two firft centuries, united- 
ly concur in fpeaking of bifhops and pref- 
byters much in the fame language with the 
facred fcripturcs. They never once fay, 
either in fo many words, or in words from 
whence it can fairly be collected, that bi- 
fhops were an order in the church fuperior 
to that of presbyters ; they never once fay, 
;hat ordination was the work of bifhops in 


Scriptural and valid. 69 

diftin&ion from presbyters ; they never 
once fay, that epifcopacy was the govern- 
ment m the church, or that it was inftitu- 
ted either by Chrift himfelf, or any of his 
apoftles ; nor do they ever fay, that it was 
fa handed down to them from the begin* 
ing. Far from this, unlefs it ftrangely ilipt 
my obfervation, which I do not in the 
leaft fufpect it did, Clement of Alexandria, 
who flourifhed towards the clofe of the fe- 
cond century, is the firft father ( Ignatius 
excepted ) who ufed that mode of fpeech, 
" bifhops, presbyters and deacons. ' And 
the terms feem not even then to have loft 
their promifcuous ufe ; for this fame Cle- 
ment, fpeaking of one under the name of a 
bifhop, calls him, in the fame fentence, 
the presbyter.* Irenseus, 'tis true, a few 
years before, once ufes that form of expref- 
fion, ff bifhops and presbyters. * His 
words are,f " Paul called together toMile- 
tus the bifhops and presbyters of Ephefus. " 
But, as the learned Mr. Jamefon very jultly 
cbferves, J " for his feeming here to diftin- 
guifh bifhops from presbyters, this fcripture 
where they got both names, and which I- 
renaeus then had in view, and Lis frequent 
promifcuous ufing ofthefe names, perfuadc 
me that he only refpectcd the 19th and 28th 


# Blondelli Apol. Seel. \i. page 36. 

f Lib. III. cap. xiv. 

X " Nazian. querela, " fevt. vi. page 157. 

70 Ordination by Presbyters 

verfes, and fo took bifhop and presbyter 
(ynonimically ( as the apoftlePaul did ) for 
one and the fame. 

I made the remark, while upon the ar- 
gument from fcripture, that no inftance 
was to be met with there of an ordination; 
by any perfon under the name of a bifhop. 
I now add, neither have I been able to find 
an inftance of ordination under the like 
name, and meaning by it a bifhop as diftin- 
guifhed from a prelbyter, in any writer till 
we come to the times when it is owned, a 
diftin&ion obtained between thefe officers 
of the church. Epifcoparians have fome- 
times, with an air of triumph, called for an 
inftance of prefbyterian ordination for fome 
hundreds of years after Chrift. If they will 
be pleafed to favor us with only one exam- 
ple of epifcopai ordination, in their fenfe 
of it, within the time above-defcribed; 
Which is a very confiderable fpace ; longer,* 
counting from Chrift, than from the firft 
fettlement of this country to the prefent 
day, we will take it into coniideration, and 
give fo notable a difcovery all the weight 
it deferves. In the mean time, we hope to 
be excufed, if we do not believe it to be a 
faft, either univerfally, or unanimoufly, or 
conftantly handed down from the days of 
the apoftles, that fingle perfons, meaning 


Scriptural and valid, 71 

hereby bifhops as diftinguifhed from pref- 
byters, exercifed the ordaining power with- 
in fuch and fuch diftri&s, or that they 
were ever veiled with a right, by apoftoli- 
cal inftitution, fo to do. We rather think, 
there is no juft reafon to affirm this to be 
fa&,upon the teftimony of any one genuine 
writer whatever, within the limits we are 
now fpeaking of. 

The plain truth is, no more can be col- 
lected from the writings of the fathers, till 
toward the clofe of the fecond century, oc 
the coming in of the third, in favor of epif- 
copacy, than from thefcriptnres themfelves. 
And were it proper to fettle the controver- 
fy by an appeal to the general fuffrage of 
thefe writers, I fhould willingly put it onj 
that iflue ; as being fully perfuaded, that 
the advantage would lie on our fide of the 
queftion, as much as if it was to be deter- 
mined by the fcriptures only. 

It is readily owned, the epiftles afcribed 
to Ignatius, a truly primitive father, do as 
certainly, as ftrongly, and as conftantly 
diftinguifh bifhops from presbyters, as any 
of the writings of the third or fourth cen- 
turies. But this we efteem of little weight 
in the prefent caufe, as there is fo much 
reafon to think, that thefe epiftles are not 


?a Ordination by Presbyters 

bis genuine works. If he wrote thefe epif- 
ties (whicn,by the way, is far from being a 
point beyond difpute ) it is not in the leaft 
probable, that they came out of his hands 
as they now appear. The Ufferian and 
Voflian copies, the only ones their great ad- 
vocate, bifhop Pearfon, pretends, in his 
"■ Vindicias Ignatianse, " to defend, carry in 
them too many, and too notorious, evi- 
dences of interpolation to induce a belief, 
in any unprejudiced mind, that it is always 
the true primitive Ignatius that is the wri- 
ter. For my own part, I efteem it an eafy 
thing to reduce it to an high degree of mo- 
ral certainty, that thefe epiftles, even in 
their pureft editions, contain fuch unquef- 
tionable marks of a later date than the 
times of Ignatius, that they ought never to 
be mentioned in this, or any other contro- 
verfy, unlefs to prove that religious cheat 
and knavery were in practice fo far back 
as the days of the fathers. Inftead of going 
into the proof of what I have now faid, 
which would put me upon trying your pa- 
tience beyond all reafonable bounds, I fhall 
refer you to the two celebrated French mi- 
nifters, Daille and L'arrogue, on our fide of 
the queftion, and the celebrated bifhops, 
Beveredge and Pearfon on the other ; in 
whofe writings you will find antiquity ran- 
fack'd, and eyery thing faid upon the mat- 

Scriptural and valid. 73 

ter,that learning or good fenfe can fuggeft. 
Read them carefully (they are to be found 
in the College-library) and judge for your* 

I trust, I may now fay, it has been 
made fufficiently clear, from the pofuive 
evidence that has been exhibited in the for- 
mer part of this difcourfe, and from its not 
being invalidated, but rather ftrcngthened, 
by the counter-evidence we have examined 
in the latter part, that the power of ordi- 
nation was not depofited in the hands of 
bifhops as diftinguifhed from presbyters ; 
but that bifhops or prefbyters, meaning by 
thefe terms one and the fame order of of- 
ficers, were veiled with power to ordain 
in the church of Chrift ; and confequently 
that ordination by a council of prefbyters, 
as pra&ifed by thefe churches, is valid to 
all the ends of the gofpel-miniftry. 

The inftitution of a lecture, on putpofe 
to vindicate the New-England churches in 
this method of ordination, may, perhaps, 
be reprefented to their diiadvantage. Oc- 
cafion may be taken herefrom to infinuate* 
that the method is novel and peculiar, 
not praftifed or approbated by the other 
reformed proteftant churches, any mora 
than by the church of England. 

I In 

74- Ordinationi by Presbyters 

In order to guard againft fuggcftions of" 
this kind, it it may be proper to let you 
know, that the proteftant churches abroad, 
in common with our's, far from owning- 
the jus divinum of epifcopacy, aflert a pa- 
rity between bifh'ops and prefbyt.ers, allow- 
ing the latter, equally with the former, to* 
perform the work of ordination. 

The churches of this denomination, in 
Germany, fpeak fully to the point in their 
book, entitled, " Liber concordis, " prin- 
ted at Leipfic in the year 1580, and again 
in 1 61 2, in which are contained " the con- 
feffion of Augsburg, and the apology for 
it, the Smalcaldic articles, and Luther's 
greater and fmaller catechifms. " One of 
the " Smalcaldic articles " has thefe words, 
* " 'Tis manifeft from the confeffion of all, 
our ach* Maries themfelves, that this .power 
[in the foregoing words, the power men* 
tioned was that of." preaching, difpenfing 
th :• iacrament: y 'x^iUtion, and juriidi6Hon , 'J 
(i is \c6rn i Ifb all that are fet over the 
c] ircnc y be .called paftors, 

RrespyierjS, or bifnops. Jcrom therefore 



rtn % mn : um, ettam adverfa- 

• rnunem p fie omnibus 

till i; i*dijs cpiic- porum — 

. .litutos tfl" — Jure divino r.ul- 

' l et paiiorem. " — Jainefon's 

Scriptural and valid. 


plainly affirms, that there is no difference 
between bifhop and presbyter ; but mat 
every paftor was a bilhop. — • Here Jeroru 
teaches, that the diftindion of degrees be- 
tween a bifnop, and a presbyter or pallor, 
was only appointed by human authority. 
And the matter itfelf declares no lefs ; for, 
on bifhop and presbyter is laid the fame di> 
ty, and the fame injunction. And only or- 
dination, in after times, made the 
difference between bifhop and paftor. — By 
divine right there is no difference between 
biihop and paftor. " Mr. Boyle mentions 
the following words as further contained 
in this article, J " Since bifhops and pallors 
are not different degrees by divine right, 
'tis manifeft, that ordination, perlor- 
med by a paftor in his own church, is va- 
lid. " It is remarkable, the articles 
compofed at Smalcald, of which the fore- 
going is one, were fubferibed by three elec- 
tors, the prince Palatine, and the electors 
of Saxony and Brandenburg ; by forty-five 
dukes, marqueffes, counts, and barons ; by 
the confuls and fenators of thirty- five cities ; 
by Luther, Melancfon, Bucer, Fagius, and 
many other noted divines. The number 
of minifters, who figned thefe articles, as 
it has been computed, was eight thoufand.f 

I 2 The 

X Boyse's clear account of the ancient epifcopacy, pag.282. 
f Cal amy's "defence of moderate non- conformity, "pag 90. 

76 Ordination by Presbyters 

The other proteftant churches as plain* 
ly a (Feit the equality of all pallors, in poinf 
of divine right ; as appears from their 
■• public confeffions of faith, " which are, 
without all doubt, a truer and more authen* 
tic ftandard of their doctrine, than the pri- 
vate fentiments of this or the other particu- 
lar perfon, however noted or learned. In 
the " confeffion of the churches of Helve- 
tia, " it is cxprefsly faid, * one and that 
equal power and office is given to all 
rninifters in the church. Certainly from 
the beginning, bifhops or prefb) ters gover- 
ned the church with a common care. None 
fet himfelf above another, or ufurped a 
larger power or dominion over his fellow- 
bifliops. — Neverthelefs, for order's fake, one 
or other of the miniiters called the aifembly 
together, propoied matters to be confulted 
on in the meeting, gathered the opinions 
of the reft, and finally took care, as much 
as in him lay, to prevent confufion. So 
St. Peter is faid to have done in the afls of 


* " P at a eft autcm omnibus in ccclefia miniftris una ct 
:equJis poteflas, five funftio. Certe ab initio, epifcopi vel 
prelbyteri ecclefiam communi opere pubernaverunt. Nullus 
alteri le prstutit, aut fibi ampliorcm poteftatem dominium- e 
in co-epifeppos ufutpavit. — lnterea propter ordirem fervan- 
c'um, unns aut certus aliquis miniftroium ceetum convocavit, 
tt in ccetu res cor.fultnndas propefuit, fenteritias hem aliorum 
coliegit, denique re qua oriretur confulio, pro virili cavit. 
F.xc legitur fecHTc. in a.flis apo(lol< rum, S. Ptnus, qui tiimerj 
idep n:c aliis fuit prsripofitus, nee poteflate m^jore csticiis 
uizdilus-r-'*. •• Synt -^ma conftfiicsum," page 40. 

Scriptural and valid. 


the apoftles, who notwithftanding was 

TED WITH G R E A TE R power." This 
confeflion is the more worthy of notice, as 
it contains virtually the fenfe of moft of 
the proteftant churches, befides thofe we 
have already mentioned ; for it was fub- 
fcribed, not only by the church of Helve*- 
tia, but by the churches of Scotland, Po- 
land, Hungary, Geneva, Neocome, Myll- 
hufium, &c. as is exprefsly declared in 
the preface that introduces it. 

Consonant hereto is the confeflion of 
the French church, prefented to Charles 
the ninth. Their thirtieth article runs thus, 
" We believe, that all true paftors, where- 
cver they are placed, are endued with e- 
qual power under that only head, the 
chief and fole univerfal bifhop : And there- 
fore no chqrqh ought to claim an empire 
or domination over any other church. " * 

The Belq;ic confeflion is much the fame. 
Their thirty- firft article fays, — • " As con- 
cerning the minifters of the word of God, 


* " Credimus omnes veros paftores, ubicunque 
locorum collocati fuerint, cadem ct crqnali inter fe poteftate 
efTe praeditos fub unico illo capite, fummoquc ct folo univerfi 
epifcopo Jefu Chrifto ; Ac proinde nulli eccleHae liccre fibi in 
ajjum imperium aut dominationem vendicare. " 

Syntag. confef. p«g. 84. 

78 Ordination by Presbyters 
in whatever place they are, they have all 


being all the minifters of Chrift, that only 
uni.erfal bifhop and head of the church. "f 

To thefe may be added the Waldenfes 
and Albigenfes, ot whom Alphonfus de 
Caftro relates, " that they denied any dif- 
ference between bifhop and prefbyter, and 
herein differed nothing from Aerius \ " 
which alfo may be learnt from Thuan, who 
compares them with " the Englifh nor> 
conformifts. M TheWaldenfes were in this, 
as in the reft of their articles, followed by 
J. Hufs, and his adherents, who alio affer- 
ted, " there ought to be no difference be- 
tween bifhops and prefbyters, or among 
priefts. " Yea, fo universal hath this doc- 
trine,of the identity of bifhop and prefbyter, 
been, that it hath, all along, by the Ro- 
' manifts, been reckoned a prime doftrine of 
Rome's oppofers. J 

'Tis readily acknowledged, in mod of 
the proteftant churches there are ecclefiafti- 
cal officers, who bear the ftyle of bifhops, 
fuper-intendants, infpeftors, or feniors ; as 


f" Quantum vero attinct divini verbi miniftros.ubicunque 
locorum fiot, eandem illi poteftatem ct authoritatem habent, 
ut qui omnes fint Chrifti, unici illius cpifcopi univerfalis, uni- 
cique capitis ecclefiae" — . Syntag. confef. pag. 142. 

X Jamcfon's Nazian. querela, pag. 96. 

Scriptural and valid. jg 

may be feen in Stiilingfleet's " Irenicum, " 
where thefe churches are all mentioned by 
name i But, as that learned author obferves, 
"all thefe reformed churches acknowledge 
no fuch thing as a divine right of epifco- 
pacy, but ftifly maintain Jerom's opinion 
of the primitive equality of gofpel-mini- 
fters " *. Nor could they confiftently dp 
any other ; for they haye, at bottom, no o- 
ther than prefbyterian ordination among 
them. " Luther, Calvin, Bucer, Melandlon, 
Bugenhagius, " &c. and all the firft refor- 
mers and founders of thefe churches, who 
ordained minifters among them, were them- 
felves presbyters, and no other. And tho', 
in fome of thefe churches, there are mini- 
fters which are called fuper-intendants, or 
bifhops; yet thefe are only " primi inter 
pares," the firft among equals ; not preten- 
ding to any fuperiority of orde,r. Having 
themfelvesno other orders than what either 
presbyters gave them, as were given them 
as presbyters, they can convey no other to 
thofe they ordain, f 


* Iren. p^ge 411. 
f " The difFenung gentleman's anfwer toWhite,"page 45-. 
At the bottom of this page, 'tis added, " The Danifh 
church is, at this time, governed by bifhops. But they look 
upon epifcopacy as only an human ii (btution ; and the flift 
pro f e(tant prelates in that kingdom were ordained by Rurgen- 
hagius, [he ordained no lefs than P ven of the m . t one tinje 3 
a meer prefby-.-r ; "/ho, by conftqu- cc, 01 ii <orv y no 
ocher than a pi efbyecnan ordination to thcu luc^efTois ever 
fmce. " 


Our adverfaries indeed do themfelve^ 
"when they fpeak out their mind, freely 
tell us, that " all the tranf-marine reformed 
churches are really presbyterian. " Dr. 
Heylin, upon this account, thro' a large 
folio, befpatters, with the blackeft of rail- 
ings and calumnies, every one of the refor- 
med churches in particular. Howel alfo 
makes Calvin " the firft broacher of the 
presbyterian religion." And fays, " Geneva 
lake fwallowed up the epifcopal fee ; and 
church lands w r ere made fecular, which was 
the white they levelled at. This Geneva 
bird flew thence toFrance, and hatched the 
Huguenots, which make about a tenth part 
of that people. It took wing alfo to Bohe- 
mia and Germany, high and low, as the 
Palatinate,the land of Hefle, and the confe- 
derate provinces of the States of Holland. "f 

If, to the proteftant churches that have 
been mentioned, we add the congregational 
diflenting brethren in England, who, at 
the revolution, are fuppofed to have made 
nearly two thoufand churches ; the large 
body of presbyterian diflenters in the north 
of Ireland ; as alfo the difTenters of other 
denominations in Britain, the united pro- 
vinces, and other parts of Europe, who are 
all of one mind as to the right of presbyters 
to ordain : — ■ I fay, if we add all thefe to- 

\ Jamefoa's Nazian. querela, pag. 95. 

Scriptural and valid. 8i 

gether, they will make a number vaftly 
greater than that which conftitutes the e- 
ptfcopal church of England, fhould we take 
into the computation every member of this 
church. But fhould we leave out of the 
reckoning thofe, who live in love and har- 
mony with diffenters, efteeming their ordi- 
nations valid, tho' not according to the 
eftablifhed form, and bring fuch only into 
the account, who are fo ftrenuous for the 
jus divinum of epifcopacy as to nullify all 
ordinations, unlets by a bifhop, in their 
fenfe of the word, they will fink into a 
number too inconfiderable to be mentioned 
in companion with the many, who differ 
from them, in their fentiments. Not that we 
rely upon numbers. The fcriptures only 
can determine, what is truth in the prefent 
debate. But flill, it is a fatisfaclion to us, 
that our ordinations are fuch as agree with 
the declared fentiments of almoft the whole 
proteftant world. And our fatisfaclion is 
the greater, as we have fo much reafon to 
believe, that they agree with the principles 
even of the church of England itfelf, at the 
beginning of the reformation, and for fome 
time afterwards. 

The generality of it's pious and learned 
divine^ in thofe days, whether of higher 
or lower dignity, were far from infilling 

K on 


on the divine right! of epifcopacy ; as 
may be feen in quotations, from their 
writings to this purpofe, by the celebrated 
Stillingfleet. * And it is worthy of 
of fpecial notice here, in Henry the eighth's 
time, when things were tending to a refor- 
mation, the arcl>bifhops, bifliops, arch- 
deacons, and clergy of England, in their 
book intitled, " the inftru&ion of a chri- 
ftian man, " fubferibed with all their hands 
and dedicated to the king an. 1537 ; and 
king Henry himfelf, in his book ffiled, " a 
ncceffary erudition for anyebriftian man," 
approved by both houfes of parliament, 
prefaced with his own epiftle, and publifhed 
by his command, exprefsly refolve, " that 
priefts and bifhops by God's law are one 
and the fame, and that the power of ordi- 
nation and excommunication belongs e- 
qually to them both." f Herewith, it may 
be further noted, agrees the manufcripf 
mentioned by bifhop Stillingfleet, in which 
archbifhop Cranmer, one of the afleflabiy, 
called together by the fpecial command 
of king Edward fixth, in anfwer to his 
queftions, has thefe words, + " bifliops 
and prieits were at one time, and were not 
two things, but one office in the beginning 
ofLChrift's religion.'' The bifhop of Afaph, 
Therleby, Redman, and Cox were all of 


* Irenicum, pag. 394, and onwards'. 
f Calamy's " defence of moderate no^-conformity/'p^o, 91. 

X Irenicum, pige 392. 

Scriptural and valid. 83 

the fame opinion with the arch-biftiop ; 
and the two latter exprefsly cite the opinion 
of Jerom with approbation. Upon which 
the learned writer, to whom we are in- 
debted, for this account obferves, * " Thus 
we fee by the teftimony chiefly of him, 
who was inftrumental in our reformation, 
that he owned not epifcopacy, as a diftinft 
order from prefbytery, of divine right, but 
only a prudential conftitution of the civil 
magistrate for the better governing in the 
church. " This fame arch-bifhopCranmer 
was " the firft of fix and forty, who, in 
the time of king Henry the eighth, affir- 
med (in a book called " the bifhop's book " 
to be ieen in " Fox's martyrology " ) that 
K the difference of biihops and presbyters 
was a device of the ancient fathers, and 
not mentioned in the fcripture* " J 

It is indeed beyond difpute, that the e- 
pifcopal form of government was fettled, at 
the reformation, upon a very different foot 
from that of a jus divinum. How elfe can 
it be accounted for, that not only in king 
Henry the eighth's reign, but likewiie in 
king Edward the fixth's, the biihops took 
out commiffions from the crown, by which 
they were to hold their bifhopricks only 
during the king's pleafure, and were im- 

K 2 powered 

* Stillingfleetj in his Jrenicpm, page 393. 

£ J, Owen's " plea for fcripture-ordination, " pa^e i|^. 

84 Ordination by Presbyters 

powered in the king's name, as his dela* 
gates, to perform all the parts of the epis- 
copal function ? Archbifhop Cranmer, that 
excellent and holy martyr, let an example 
to the reft in taking out one of them. * 
This method of afting is certainly better 
adjufted to a conftitution, founded on poli- 
cy, than divine right. Nay, as far from 
the beginning of the reformation as the 
days of queen Elifabeth, in the articles of 
religion agreed upon, the Englifh form of 
church-government was only determined 
" to be agreeable to God's word ; " which 
f had been a very low and diminishing ex- 
preffion, had they looked on it as abfolute- 
ly prefcribed in fcripture,as the only necef? 
fary form to be obferved in the church, 

Th e truth is, fays Mr. Owen, this notion 
of the jus divinum of epifcopacy, as a fu- 
perior order, wag, fnrft promoted in the 
church of England by arch-bifhop Laud. 
Dr. Holland, the king's profeffor of divinity 
in Oxon, was much offended with him, 
for aflerting it in a difputation for his de- 
grees. He checked him publicly, and told 
him, " he went about to make a divifion 
between the Englifh; and the other refor- 
med churches. " J 


* Burnet's abridg. of the hill, of the reform. Vol. II. p. 7. 
\ Irenicum, page 393, 394. 
% " Pica fvt fcripture-ordiBatioD, " page 115. 

Scriptural and valid. 85 

And it was in this archbifhop's time, 
that the point of re-ordination began to be 
urged. Through his influence, as Mr. Prin 
tells us, * bifhopHall re-ordained Mr. John 
Dury, a minifter of the reformed church. 
But the old church of England did not re- 
quire or pra£tife re-ordination. In king 
Edward the fixth's time, PeterMartyr, Mar- 
tin Bucer, and P. Fagius had ecclefiaftical 
preferments in the church of England with- 
out re-ordination. f Mr. WilliamWhiting- 
ham was made dean of Durham, about 
1563 ; tho' ordained by prefbyters only. J 
In like manner, Mr. Travers, ordained by 
a prefbyter beyond fea, was feven years 
lecturer at the temple, and had the bifhop 
of London's letter for it. § And even ia 
the reign of king James the firft, the vali- 
dity of ordination by prefbyters was not fet 
afide ; as appears from the cafe of the three 
prefbyters that were confecrated bifhops for 
Scotland at London. Before their confe- 
cration, Dr.Andrews, bifhop of Ely, moved 
the queftion, " whether they fhould not 
be firll epifcopally ordained prefbyters, 
that they might be capable of being ad- 
mitted into the order of bifhops ? " Upon 
which arch-bifhop Bancroft ( a moll rigid 
affertor of epifcopacy ) anfwered, " there 


* " Plea for fcripture-ordination, " page 117. 

f Ibid page 118. J Ibid page 121. § Ibid page f22. 

§6 Ordination by Presbyters 

was no need of it, fince ordination by pref- 
byters was valid ' The bifhop of Ely 
yeilded ; and without repeating their or- 
dination as prefbyters, they were confecra- 
ted bifliops. * 

How far this practice, in the epifcopal 
church, at home, inthofedays, would be 
countenanced at prefent, I don't pretend to 
determine ; but thus much has been faid 
by your highly efteemed divinity-profeflbr, 
upon a proper occafion ; whofe words are 
well worth tranfcribing here, ** I cannot 
learn, whether there has been even in 
England, to this very day, properly any 
public and exprefs aflertion of the " di- 
vine right " of prelacy, either by parlia- 
ment, or convocation. I think no fuch 
thing can be found in the thirty-nine ar- 
ticles, or in the homilies, or in the form 
of ordination, or in the common prayer- 
book, &c. Unlefs it may be thought con- 
tained in the preface to the book of ordi- 
nation, where there is a hint that feems 
to carry fuch an afpeft ; but, I believe, 
will appear too flender a foundation to 
build upon, in the prefent cafe ; efpecial- 
ly if we remember who were the chief 
compilers of that book ; and what rea- 
fon we have to conclude, they were of 
the judgment, that" priefts and bifliops 

" are, 

* Pierce's vindication, part I. page 167. 


Scriptural and valid, 87 

are, by God's law, one and the fame " ; 
and that the epifcopal dignity is rather 
by cuftoin, than by divine institution." * 

What has been offered will, I believe, 
be tho't fufficent to make it evident, that 
ordination by presbyters is no new thing 
under the fun, a Angularity peculiar to the 
New-England churches; flnce we have 
feen it approved by fo many of the prote- 
ctant reformed churches* and by the church 
of England itfelf, at leaft in its firft protec- 
tant and reformed ftate,and for a confidera- 
ble time afterwards. And had there been 
an eitablifhment, in thofe days, putting the 
power of ordination into the hands of prel- 
byters, it would have been, according to 
the then general opinion, as agreeable to 
fcripture,as that which put it into the hands 
of bifhops. Poffibly, the latter would not 
have been the eftablifhment, had it not 
been for ecclefiaftical dignities and reve- 
nues; which enter not into the jusdivinum 
of the thing. 

I sh a ll now put an end to the trial of 
your patience, by fpeaking a few words to 
the young gentlemen of the college, who 
are under tuition in order to their being 
formed for ufefulnefs, when they go out 
into the world. 


* " Sober remarks, " psgc n. 

88 Ordination by Presbyters 

We have fuch a queftion as that in the 
prophefies of the prophet Jeremiah, " Hath 
a nation changed their gods, which yet are 
no gods ? " And it beautifully reprefents 
the flrength of a people's attachment to 
the religious fentiments and practices of 
their fore-fathers, the difficulty with which 
they are wrought upon to depart from 
them. Even the nations, who have been 
taught by their anceftors, to worfhip idol- 
gods, which, in reality, are no gods, will 
not eafily change the objeft of their devoti- 
on. 'Tis not, it is owned, a fufficient plea 
in favor of any religious principles, or 
mode of worfhip, that they are fuch as 
were handed down to us from our fathers. 
They may, notwithstanding, be fuperltiti- 
ous, abfurd, and finful. And fhould this 
be the cafe, filial reverence towards the fa- 
ther of our fpirits fhould take place of the 
reverence due to the fathers of our fiefh. 
But fhould they, on the other hand, be 
confonant to the dictates of uncorrupted 
reafon, and the truth of revelation, 'twould 
be ftrange, if pofterity fhould defert them ; 
efpecially, if, inftead of adhereing to them, 
they fhould go back to thofe their progeni- 
tors had renounced, and were really right 
in having fo done. This, if I millake not, 
is a thought well worthy of the attention of 
our fons, who are fcnt to this collegiate- 


Scriptural and valid, 89 

fchool to be fitted for public fervice. We 
don't advife you to hold fa ft the religion of 
your country, meerly becaufe it is the 
religion of your, fathers. This would be to 
act below your dignity as intelligent and 
moral agents. But ftill it deferves, on this 
account, your ferious examination. And 
we would exhort you to the greateft care 
and diligence in ftudying the reafons upon 
which the religion you have been educated 
in is grounded ; and, in this way, we doubt 
not but you will, and upon the foot ofjuft 
and folid conviction, be fir-mly attached to 
it. We would particularly recommend it 
to you thoroughly to enquire into the rea- 
fons of that " mode of worfhip, " and 
" form of church order, " which your pro- 
genitors left every thing that was dear to 
them, in their native land, that they might 
enjoy themfelves in this place of retreat, 
and tranfmit to their pofterity : Efpecially 
would we recommend this to thofe among 
you, who are defigned for the miniftry ; 
and the more exact and critical you are in 
your enquiries upon this head, the lefs will 
be our concern as to the event ; being ful- 
ly fatisfied, you will find abundant reafon, 
with all freedom, to join in communion 
with the New-England churches, and to 
fettle in them as paftors, in the method of 
inveftiture common among us, mould you 
be called thereto in the providence of God. 

L We 

90 Ordination by Preobyters 

We ad vile you all, our beloved fons, to 
make the wifeit and bell: ufe of the rich 
advantages you are here favoured with, to 
lay the foundation for fuch acquirements 
in learning as will make you eminent 
bleflings to the world, in the various fta- 
tions of life, when you go from hence. 
'Tis pity any of you fhould mifimprove the 
valuable price that is put into your hands ; 
a thoufand pities you fhould idle away 
your time, much more that you fhould 
mifpend it in needlefs diverfion, in vain 
company, or, what is vaftly worfe, in the 
purfuit of thofe follies, by which young 
men are too apt to be drawn alide and en- 

Above all, we advife and befeech you 
to cultivate in your minds a ferious fenie of 
the things pertaining to the kingdom of God 
and Chritt. Reft not fatisfied with any at- 
tainments, till you have fecured thejuftifi- 
cation of life, the falsification of the fpi- 
rit, and the adoption of children. You 
may then live joyfully, and you will die 
fafely. The great God will be the guide 
of your youth, your guide thro' the world, 
your guide thro' death, and your portion 
forever. Amen. 


(9* ) 


Giving a brief hiftorical account of the 
epiftles afcribed to Ignatius ; and 
exhibiting fome of the many reafons, 
why they ought not to be depended on 
as his uncorrupted works. 

IF we form our judgment of Ignatius from the 
accounts that are given of him by fome mo- 
dern authors, we mud conceive of him as 
first among the oriental worthies, not only in 
ecclefiaftical dignity, but in piety, learning, and 
every other endowment, whether natural or fpiri- 
tual. And, poffibly, fuch fentiments concerning 
him may be juft: ; tho' there is no way in which, 
at prefent, we can know them to be fo. The fa- 
thers, who lived in the two or three flrfl: centuries, 
fay but little about him. They don't fo much as 
tell us, where he was born, how educated, when 
brought over to the chriftian faith, or by the inftru- 
mentality of what perfons or means. They have 
indeed left nothing upon record, fave the manner 
of his going out of the world, from whence his 
character, as diftinguimed from that of others of 
the fame age, can be particularly drawn. 

L 2 He 

92 Appendix. 

He is fpoken of, In after-time?, as bifhcp of 
Antioch. * But it would lead us into wrong tho'ts 
of this ftile, fhould we take our idea of it from that 
fuperiority to which bifhops were then exalted. 
*Tis probable, the fathers, who call him bifhop, 
efteemed him fuch in the fenfe the word was under - 
flood in their day ; but as the fenfe of this word 
was diflerent then from what it was in the age in 
which Ignatius flourifhed, they might take more 
into it's meaning, than it at firft intended. Prime- 
paftor, head-prefbyter, is the moil that was meant 
by his being bifhop of Antioch, at the time when 
he fuftained this relation to that church. 

If there is no room to queftion his dying a mar- 
tyr, the manner and circumflances of the facr, as 
they are related in " the acts of his martyrdom, " 
may reafonably be difputed. The (lory of Trajan's 
fending him to Rome, after his condemnation at 
Antioch, that he " might be thrown to wild beafts, '* 
does not feem, however defended with his epiftlts, 
to be any of the mod probable. u For wherefore 
fhould Ignatius of all others be brought to Rome 
to fuffer, when the " Proconfuls," and the" Prse- 
fides provinciarum, " did every where, in time of 
perfecution, execute their power in punifhing chri- 
ftians at their own tribunals, without fending them 


* Origenj a writer in the third century, is the firft that 
mentions him under this charter. He is herein followed 
by the fucceeding fathers: Tho- they dirkr in the pkce they 
pjve him in the line of fucceflion ; fonie putting Euodius be- 
fore him, and others Ignatius next to the apoflle Fetcr, or 
Paul, or both. This makes a difficulty not unlike to that of 
Cement's fucceflion in the fee of Rome. The epifccparisns 
takediifercnt methods to folve it ; which it is not my bufinefs, 
ut prefent, to examine. 

Appendix. 93 

fo long a journey to Rome, to be martyr* d there. 
Aid how came Ignatius to make fo many, and fuch 
ttrange, excurfions as he did, by the ftory, if the • 
foldiers that were his guard were fo cruel to him, as 
he complains they were." * 


But however it might be as to circumftances, 
the thing itfelf, his dying for the fake of Chrift, is 
not denied •, tho' the year ©f his martyrdom can- 
not be certainly nVd. Bafnage ranks it among the 
obfcurities of chronology .+ Bifhop Pearfon, bifhop 
Loyd, Pagi, LeClerc and Fabricius place it A. D. 
115 or 116. But Du Pin, Tillemont, and Dr. 
Ca^e, in the ioth of Trajan, 107. Perhaps, this 
lad period is by far the more probable. 

As to the epiftles that have been afcribed to this 
primitive father, and given rife to fo much difpute 
in the proteftant world, the mod perfect account of 
them, I have been able to collect, is briefly this. 

The firft edition of them came out in the year 
1494 or 5 •, containing only three latin epiftles, one 
to " the VirginMary, " the other two to " St. John." 
A. D. 1497 or 8» Faber Stapulenfis publifhed ele- 
ven more latin epiftles, which were feveral times 
reprinted at Stratfburg, and once at Bafil. Cham- 
perius afterwards impreffed the above three and 
eleven epiftles, with the addition of another " ad 
Mariam Caftabolitam. " This was done at Cologn 
in 1536, and made in all fifteen epiftles. They 
wer^ as yet extant only in latin, and thus they re- 
mained, in ftill repeated impreffions, till 1557, 
when Pacasus printed them in greek, with the latin 
tranflation of Perionius. The following yearGefner 


* " Iren." pag. 298. f Anna!. 107. 5 vi. 

94 Appendix, 

publifhed them in greek likewife, with the verfion 
of Brunnerus. This Gtfner aflumed the honor of 
being the firft, who had made thefe epiftles public 
in greek. But Pacasus is allowed, both by DuPin, 
and bimop Pearfon, to have been the firft editor 
of them in this language. [ N. B. Thefe greek 
editions contain only twelve of the fifteen epiftles. ] 
In the year 1608, the edition of Meftrsus came 
forth; and finally that of Vedelius in 1623, with 
large commentaries. 

This was the {late of the " Ignatian epiftles, " 
when arch-bifhop Ufher firft law them. Upon 
reading them, he took notice, that three ancient 
Englifh divines * had formerly quoted a paiTage 
from them in the very fame words, in which it had 
been quoted by Theodoret, which words were not 
to be found in the prefent editions, either greek or 
latin ; and from hence he concluded, there muft be 
fome manufcript copy of thefe epiftles in England. 
He made diiigent fearch, and at length found two 
copies, one at Cambridge in the library of Caius 
college, the other in the private library of bifhop 
Montague •, containing an ancient verfion different 
from the vulgar. He compared it with the palTages 
cited by the fathers, and, finding a good agree- 
ment between them, tho't fit to put out an edition 
of " the Ignatian epiftles, " from this verfion ; 
which was printed in 1644. Not long after this, 
the learnedVolTius found, in the duke of Tufcany's 
library at Florence, a greek manufcript, containing 
fix of thefe epiftles, fuppofed to be the fame that 
are mentioned by Eufebius and Jerom ; which, 


* Wodeford, Robert Lincolnienfis, and Tiffington. 
€t Hammond's anfw. to animadver. on his defence," pag.50 



agreeing with arch-bifhop Ufher's copies, he pub- 
limed at Amfterdam in 1646, with the addition of 
a feventh, that to " the Romans, " much amended 
from the latin verfion. This laft epiftle, in 1684, 
was publifhed at Paris, by Mr. Ruinart, from a 

fuppofed uninterpolated copy. 


From this account of the epiftles that go under 
the name of Ignatius, 'tis obvious to divide them 
into three clafles. 

The firft contains thofe three that are extant 
only in latin, infcribed to " the Virgin Mary, " 
and " St. John." But they are of fo little impor- 
tance, that learned men fcarce think it worth while 
to be at the pains to prove them fpurious. 

The fecond comprehends the epiftles that are 
printed in greek, but not mentioned by Eufebius, 
or Jerom. And thefe are five in number. The 
firft, to " Mary CalTabolita •, " the fecond, to 
" the inhabitants of Tarfus •, " the third, to " the 
Antiochians ; " the fourth, to " Hero the deacon 
of Antioeh •, " the fifth, to " the Phillippians. " 
Bellarmine, Baronius, PafTevin, and a few others, 
give credit to thefe epiftles as the real works of Ig- 
natius ; but they are herein oppofed by almoft the 
whole body, efpecially, of proteftant writers, who 
look upon them to be evidently fuppofitkious. 

In the third clafs are comprifed the feven epiftles, 
which are fuppofed to be mentioned by Eufebius 
and Jerom *, which are as Tollow. The firft, to 
•* the Ephtfians •, the fecond, to " the Magnefians ;" 
the third, to " the Trallians s " the fourth, to 

" the 

9 6 


" the Romans ; " the fifth, to " the Philadelphia 
ans " ; the fixth, to " theSmyrnseans " -, the feventh, 
" to Polycarp. " It may be obferved here, arch* 
bifhop Ufher, and others after him, reject this lad j 
looking upon the fix former as the only ones com- 
memorated by Eufebius : Tho' there are thofe, on 
the contrary, who, perhaps not with lb much rea- 
fon, conclude he takes notice of the whole feven. 

As for the feven greek epiftles, in this laft clafs, 
they may be confidered as extant in the editions of 
them before, or fince, the days of Ufher and Voffius. 

In the former confederation of them, they are 
fliled " the larger epiftles, " and generally dif- 
carded as unworthy of fo primitive a father as Ig- 
natius. Calvin, the Century- writers, Whittaker, 
Parker, Scultet, Rivet, and others, always de- 
clared this to be their opinion of them : Tho* the 
advocates for prelacy, iuch as Whitgift, Bilfon, 
Dounam, Heylyn, Taylor, and others, profeffed a 
belief cf them as truly genuine. And as fuch they 
were, in thofe days, appealed to, in the caufe-of 
epifcopacy, with as much zeal and frequency as 
they have been fince. But thefe " larger epiftles " 
are now, I may fay, univerlally given up as inca- 
pable of defence. The learned bifhop Pearfon 
freely owns, that they are corrupted and interpo- 
lated : And tho' he commends the induftry of 
Vedelius in what he has done to diftinguifh between 
what is genuine, and interpolated, in them ; yet he 
thinks, at the fame time, that he has not fufficiently 
done it ; and, in a word, does not undertake their 
defence, in thefe editions of them. 




These epiftles, confidered in the latter view, as 
publifhed from the " Cantabrigian " and " Flo- 
rentine copies, are called the " fhorter ones, " 
and reprefented by the epifcoparians to be the un- 
corrupted works of Ignatius •, and, as fuch, we are 
turned to them, upon all occafions, as containing 
full evidence of the fuperiority of bifhops to pref- 
byters in order and power. 

Upon which, I can't but put you upon minding 
the conduct of, at leaft, fome of our opponents. 
The " larger epiftles " of Ignatius they once ear- 
neftly contended for againft all that oppofed them, 
and conftantly repaired to them as the great fupporc 
of their caufe. But now they are willing to throw 
them by as ufelefs -, the " fhorter editions " of 
Ufher and Vofiius being the only ones to be de- 
pended on. They could not be prevailed with, 
by any methods of reafoning, to give up Ignatius 
in the " former editions, " till they had got others, 
from other copies, to fupply their place. And now 
they readily fee the force of the arguments, they 
before efteemed as nothing better than meer cavils. 
It certainly looks as tho' they imagined their caufe 
flood in abfolute need of Ignatius, and were will- 
ing to part with him in " former editions, " only 
becaufe they have others to fubflitute in their room, 
that they can better manage : Nor can one well for- 
bear thinking, if " other editions, " from Mill 
other manufcripts, fhould come forth, more defen- 
fible than thefe they now have, they would as 
readily quit " thefe, " and cry up " them. ". 

But however uncorrupt the ce fhorter Ignatian 
epiftles u are faid to be, there are iome, and of 

M the 

9 8 


the fir ft rank too for learning, who have openly 
declared their opinion of them as fpurious ; and a 
dill greater number look upon them as interpolated, 
and to a degree that renders them unfit to be re- 
paired to, in order to know the mind of the true 

The ftrange filence of primitive antiquity con- 
cerning epiftles under the name of Ignatius is given, 
by the learned Daille, as a good reafon to fufpect, 
that he never wrote any. There is no controverfy 
about the fact itfelf, namely, that none of the wri- 
ters, whofe works are ftill remaining, mention e- 
piftles wrote by Ignatius, either a lefs or greater 
number, till we come into the fourth century, three 
only excepted. And 'tis really a difputable point, 
to fay the leaft, whether any of thefe three, all cir- 
cumftances confidered, are to be looked upon, as 
proper vouchers in the cafe. * But fhould they be 


* Polycarp, Irenssus, and Origen, are the tlnee fathers, 
who are faid to mention epiftles wrote by Ignatius. The 
Sentence in Polycarp, which takes notice of thtfe epiftles, is 
that which concludes his own epiftle. "Tis an independant 
paragraph, and may be confidered, either as an original part 
of the epiftle, or an after-addition, without the leaft damage 
to its connection or ienfe. In this view of it, Daille and 
L'arroque look upon it as an interpolation ; and for this rea- 
fon, becaufe it fpeaks of Ignatius as yet alive, and not come 
to his laft futferings ; while, in the ninth feclion, he is di- 
rectly mentioned as dead, and gone to the Lord ; which, as 
they argue, is an inconfiftency, it would be a difhonor to 
charge upon Polycarp. So far as I am able to judge, neither 
bifhop Pearfon, nor arch- bifhop Wake have faid that which 
is fufficient to take off the force of this arguing. As for Ire- 
P2cus, the manner of his introducing what he gives us from 
Ignatius is this, " quemadmoduni quidam de noftris dixit, " 
as one from among us faid ; which is as properly applicable 




allowed to be fo, 'tis notwithftanding an unaccount^ 
able thing, that, for the full fpace of two hundred 
years, no more notice fhould be taken of the wri- 
tings of this primitive father, if-he left any. For 
let it be confidered, 

M 2 Ignatius 

to a verbal, as written faying : For which reafon I 
can't but think, notwithftanding all that has been offered in 
favor of this teftimony, that Mr. Lardner fpcaks the exact 
truth, when he fays, " 'Tis difputable, whether he cites a 
paiTage of a writing, or only mentions fome words or ex- 
pressions of Ignatius, which might be fpoken by him upon 
the near view of his martyrdom. " The teftimonies from 
Origen (who, by the way, was a writer in jthe third century) 
are two. The fvi\ is taken from M the prologue to the com- 
mentaries on Canticles, " that goes under his name. If he 
was the real author, (which is tho't que(Honable) we have it 
only in the verfion of RurBn, who is reprefentcd as taking a 
fhameful liberty in all his tranflations of Origen, to alter, add 
or diminifh ; infomuch that there is no knowing what is his, 
and what is Onsen's. 'Tis,! conclude, for this reafon, that 
neither arch bimop Ufher nor Dr. Hammond do make ufe of 
this Origenical testimony in the evidence they exhibit in favor 
of the <4 Ignauan epiftles. " The other testimony is cited 
from " his homily on Luke." This alfo is fufpe&ed to be 
tie vv>rk of fome latin author ; but if Origen really wrote it, 
'ti> ex mt only in latin : And if it was tranflated by Jerom, 
a pretended, there is no knowing what is truly Origen's. 
DuPia fays, the vertions of Jerom are not more exact tluu 
RurH )'s. And RufHn complains of the liberty Jerom took in 
h tranflatioQS, as Jerom complains, in like manner, of him. 
And certainly no great credit ought to be givento translation* 
which were done with unbounded licence. I may pertinently 
add here, 'tis a fhrewd circumllance, giving realon to fufpecl 
thdt Oigen never mentioned the " Ignatian epilUes " in his 
writings, that he is lilentiy pafled over by Eufebius. For no 
one was a greater admirer of Origen, nor was any one more 
particularly verfed in his writings. And as he exprefsly re- 
fers to the above paflages in Polycarp and Jrenseus, 'tis 
ftrnnge he fliould take no notice of thofe in Origen, if the* 
had, in his day, been contained in his writings, 

ico Appendix. 

Ignatius was a perfon that lived in the firfl: age 
ofchriftianity •, was perfonally known to, and ac- 
quainted with, at leaft, fome of the apoftles, and 
many of thofe who had been converfant with them 5 
and he was ( as is generally fuppofed ) fixed, by the 
apoftle Peter, or Paul, or both, in the paftoral 
office at Antigen, a noted city in itfelf, and the 
more fa on account of its being the place, where 
believers were firft diftinguifhed by the name of 
chriftians. Thefe are confiderations that open to 
us fo much of the character of this ancient father, 
as to leave it pad doubt, that he was not fo obfeure 
a perfon as to be unknown in thofe days. Befides, 
he was a glorious martyr for the caufe of Chrift ; 
and, if he really wrote thefe epiftjes, the circum- 
flances of his martyrdom were more fignally illuf- 
trious, than ever attended any other martyrdom 
before, or fince, that we have any record of. For 
he was condemned at Antioch to die at Rome ; 
and, in order to the execution of this fentence, was 
conveyed by a band of foldiers, as a prifoner of 
Jefus Chrift, through all the gofpelifed places, that 
Jay between thefe two greatly diftant cities. Such 
circumftances could not well fail of fpreading his 
fame, and occafioning his being univerfally known, 
and talk'd of, among chriftians, A primitive fa- 
ther, and hrft-paftor of one of the mod celebrated 
chriftian churches, to be carried, as it were, thro* 
the world, in bonds for the namb of Chrift ; — it 
could not but be taken notice of, by all the chur- 
ches, as he pafled along : Nor is it conceivable, 
but that his name upon this account, fhould be had 
in remembrance. If he had been an obfeure perfon 
before, thd'c obfervablcs would have " fet him on 
a hill, '• and put him under an advantage, beyond 


Appendix. joi 

any of the fathers of the fame age, of being com- 
memorated in after-writings. Such are the circum- 
ftances under which we are to conceive of the fup- 
pofed author of thefe epiftles. 

And extraordinary ones attend the epiftles them- 
felves. For they were wrote, if at all wrote by 
Ignatius, in the capacity of a " prifoner of death/* 
and while actually on his journey to be "devoured 
by wild beafts " : Nor were they wrote to a parti- 
cular friend, upon fume private concern ; nor yet 
to here and there an obfcure church, but to as noted 
o/ies as had then been formed -, and this, if we may 
credit the epifcoparians, upon matters of the greateft 
importance : Which are considerations that won'c 
fufTer us to think, that " thefe epiftles y were ei- 
ther unknown, to the world, or efteemed worthy of 
no notice. Six epiftles wrote and fent to as many 
famous churches, by the head-paftor of Antioch, 
upon the moft momentous affairs, and at fo folemn 
a time as that of his being about to die for the fake 
of Chrift, could not but have occafioned great talk 
in the chriftian world ; nor is there room to doubt, 
that they would have had a very diftinguifhing value 
put upon them : Nay, they muft have been efteem- 
ed the moft celebrated monuments of all uninfpired 
antiquity, and as fuch have been univerfally known 
and regarded, efpecially by the learned writers in 
thofe times. And 'tis really a furprifing thing, that 
fo little refpect fhould be paid to them for the full 
fpace of 200 years, after their compofure *, and 
what makes the matter ftill more ftrange is, that 
the writings of others of the fame age are particu- 
larly, named, or quoted. And why fhould the 
writings of Ignatius, the moft famous of them all, 


102 Appendix. 

be treated with fuch unbecoming neglect ? — There 
is certainly fome reafon,from thefe hints, to fufpecl, 
whether Ignatius was the real author ofthefe epiftles. 

*Tis urged, if he did not pen them, they were 
forged before the days of Eufebius, that is, between 
the beginning of the fecond, and the coming in of 
the fourth century -, which is reprefented as a thing 
altogether incredible. 'Tis readily acknowledged, 
this religious knavery was praclifed, if at ali, within 
the time fpecified. And I freely own for myfelf 
ftill further, that I really tho't it an incredible thing, 
it mould be pracYifed within this period, till, by 
better acquaintance with antiquity, I was fully con- 
vinced I had been under a great miftake. Perhaps, 
the knavifh forgeries, within this term, were as 
numerous as they have ever been fince, in the fame 
fpace of time. Scarce one of the apoftles, or fir ft 
mod eminent fathers, have efcaped being perfona- 
ted by fome wretched impoftor, in fome piece or 
other, they have palmed on the world under their 
name. Nay, our blefled Lord himfelf has been 
thus bafely ufed. And there is no one tolerably 
verfed in the ancient writings, but knows this to be 
true. Hegefippus, ( contemporary with Juftin 
Martyr, who fiourimed about the year 150 ) dif- 
courfing of " apocryphal books, " fays, at lead, 
of fome of them, that they * " were made by the 
heretics of his time. " Irenaeus obferves, that f- 
*' the heretics in his day had an innumerable multi- 
tude of fpuribtts and apocryphal books, which they 
had forged to delude the more weak and ignorant 
fort of perfons. M Origen, Jerom, Epiphanius, 

Ambrofe ? 

# Eufeb. lib. IV. cap. xxii. 

f Ad?;rf. Hseref. lib. I. cap. xvii. 

Appendix. 1O3 

Ambrofe, and others, tell us of great numbers of 
thefe books made ufe of by the heretics in their 
times. Of thefe books, fome are quite loft, not 
fo much as the names, or the lead part of them, 
remaining. Of others, there are fome few frag- 
ments in the writings of the fathers, without men- 
tioning the books from whence they were taken. 
Of others, there are undoubted fragments, with the 
names of the books out of which they are cited. 
Others are (till extant, at leaft, in part. The rea- 
der may lee a furprifingly large catalogue of thefe 
forged books, in Du Pin's " ecclefiaftical hiftory-, '* 
and a much larger one (till in Mr. Jones's "method 
of fettling the canon of the new-teftament " : From 
both which authors, he may meet with what will 
abundantly fatisfy him, that they are indeed forge- 
ries, and were impofed on the world long before 
the days of Eufebius. 

And not only were books forged under the name 
of infpired perfons, but of fome of the moit famous 
primitive fathers. Such are the " Recognitions " 
fathered oh Clement of Rome ; the " Clementines, %t 
as aifo the " Epitome of the Clementine acts of 
Peter " ; not to fay any thing of the pretended 
" apoftolical conftitutions and canons," faid to be 
penned by Clement. Such are Polycarp's " let- 
ter toDionyfius the Areopagite," and his " difcourfc 
on St. John's death". Thefe are all of them evi- 
dently fpurious pieces, and mod of them univerfally 
owned to be fo. And yet, they were forged before 
the fourth century. So that, be our opinion of the 
times before Eufebius as it will, lome there were, 
even in thofe times, who were both impudent and 
knavifn enough to be guilty of Rich a fraud, as that 


104. Appendix. 

we fuppofe might have been pracYifed, under tha 
name of Ignatius : And the fuppofition of his being 
thus fraudulently dealt by is fo far from being an in- 
credible thing, that it only adds one to the many 
religious frauds, which were committed in thofe 
days, and under the names of much better men 
than he can be pretended to be. 1 

After all, 'tis poflible, I own, Ignatius might 
fee the writer of thefe epiftles : Nor will I pretend 
to determine, that he was not : Tho* I am inclined 
to think, moft unprejudiced perfons, from what 
has been offered, will be difpofed to queftion, whe- 
ther they are fo certainly his,as to leave no reafonable 
room for, at lead, fome doubt in the cafe. 

But fhould it be conceded, that thefe epiftles 
were certainly wrote by Ignatius, we fhall, notwith- 
standing, hope to be excufed, if we lay no great 
Weight upon what is cited from them ; and for this 
very good reafon, becaufe we judge they are fo 
interlarded with corrupt mixtures, as not fairly to 
exhibit the real fentiments of the primitive father, 
whofe name they bear. * 

, What 

* It fliould be rernembred here 'tis not only the truth of 
fact, that Ignatius has been bafely and fraudulently dealt 
with, no lefs than eight of the fifteen epiftles that bear his 
name being forgeries, and owned to be fo ; but 'tis fa <fl 
likewife, and acknowledged as fuch, that the other feven, 
in all the editions of them, before Ufher and Voflius, have 
been so corrupted by fome knavifli interpolator, as that 
they ought not to be received as his genuine works. We 
don't argue from hence, that the " later editions" mufi 
be corrupted alfo ; but thus much is obvioufly and certainly 
deducible herefrom, that they may be fo ; that the fuppofi. 
tion is quite eafy and natural, as falling in with what has al- 
ready been practifed upon thefe epiftles. 


10 5 

What we have to offer in fupport of this judge- 
ment,, takes in fo many particulars, that it would 
require a vaft deal more room than can at prefenc 
be fpared to confider them. I fhall therefore 
wholly pals them over, and confine myfelf to one 
thing only, viz. what is here faid concerning the 
officers of the churches he writes to. And I the 
rather pitch upon this, becaufe the difcourfe upon 
this head fo runs through all the epiftles, ( one only 
excepted, the epiftle to the " Romans " * ) bears 
fo great a pare in them, and is fo mingled with al- 
moft every paragraph, that if what is offered upon 
this point is not worthy of the true Ignatius, or evi- 
dently exhibits the marks of an age posterior to 
that in which he lived, they will have faftened on 
them the charge of corruption, unfitting them to 
be depended on in the prefent, or indeed any other, 

Three things I have here to fay, which I efteem 
worthy of particular notice, and fhall diftinftly 
mention. # 

I. There is vaftly more faid upon the head of 
church- officers, than might be expected from the 
true Ignatius. The feven epiftles, in the tranflation 
of arch-bifhop Wake, take up about 50 pages in 
oftavo •, and the extracts I have made from them, 
as they relate only to bifhops and prefbyters, will 
fill at leaft ten 5 tho' they are made from but fix 

N of 

* 'Tis obfervable, this epiitle is the only one that is 
perfectly ufdef3 to the ep fcopil caufc. For it differs from 
all the re t in this, that it don't once diftinguifti bifhops from 
prefb/ters ; and, if I don't mifrcm^inber, the word bifhop 
is bat once afed throughout the whole epiftle. 

106 Appendix. 

of the feven epiftles. Now, confidering the cir- 
cumftances of Ignatius, when he wrote thefe epiftles, 
'tis highly improbable, he fhould have his heart fo 
much fet upon the honor and power of the clergy, 
as, in all of them, to be fo very lavifh in his dif- 
courfe upon this point. He was now a "prifoner 
of death, " and on " his journey to the place of 
execution" ; And if he found within himfelf a dif- 
pofition to write to the feveral churches, as he 
went along, 'tis really ftrange, he fhould be fo 
Jarge in his encomiums, exhortations, directions, 
cautions, and informations, all tending to exalt the 
clergy, and befpeak for them the higheft reverence, 
and mod profound fubjectior*. Had he thus wrote 
in one or two only of his letters, the fpecial cir- 
cumstances of the churches to whom he wrote 
might, perhaps, be pleaded in his excufe : But it 
cannot be fuppofed, fo many churches fhould be 
fo ignorant of their own oonftitution, or of the 
duty they owed to the officers fet over them ; or 
that they had been fo faulty in their behaviour to- 
wards the clergy, as to make it proper for a con- 
demned paftor, juft going out of the world, fo 
to write to them, as if the main thing fuitable 
to be faid was, " that they had very worthy, 
and God-becoming bifhops and prefbyters, whom 
they ought to revere and honor as God the 
Father, and his fon Jefus Chrift. ,, There is plainly 
much more fpoken upon the fubject of the clergy, 
and their rights, than upon any other, tho' of the 
mod fundamental importance ; which looks very 
ftrange. It would certainly do fo in epiftles, wrote 
at prefent,under like circumftances •, and the rather, 
as the fame things are not only mentioned in all the 
epiftles, but in molt of them needlefsly repeated, 




and in fome of them repeated over and over again 
Co as to be quite fulfome. Shou'd a bifhop, at this 
day; while in the near view of death for religion's 
fake, write epiftles to the churches after this pattern, 
I fcruple not to give it as my opinion, that the ge- 
neral thought of the world concerning him, in this 
day of chriftian liberty, would be, that over-heated 
zeal for clerical honor and power had put him out 
of the poffeffion of himfelf. This leads 

II. To the next confideration, namely, the 
<c lofty defections" that are given, in thefe epiftles, 
of the officers of the chriftian church, with the 
" exorbitant claims of power and dominion " made 
on their behalf. The language to this purpoie is 
truly extraordinary, not at all confonant to the age 
of the true Ignatius, nor indeed worthy of fo pri- 
mitive a father and martyr. What other thought 
can we entertain of thofe numerous expreflions, 
which reprefent bimops as " prefiding in the ptace 
cf God " : which compare them to " God the 
Father, and to JefusChrift the fon of the Father*' : 
which declare it our duty to " receive them as the 
Lord, to reverence them as Jefus (Thrift, " yea, 
" to follow them even as Chrift does the Father " : 
which caution againft " refifting the bifhop, left 
we mould difobey God M : which command us " fo 
to obey the bifhop, and fubje<ft ourfelves to him, 
as to do nothing without him M : which, " without 
the bifhop ", deem it " unlawful either to baptiff 3 
or celebrate the facrament, or indeed do any thing, 
however reafonable it may appear to us " : which 
exhort to be " fo one with the bifhop, as Chrift is 
one with the Father •, and fo to do nothing without 
him, as Chrift did nothing without the Father M * 

N 2 which 

108 Appendix/ 

which make fo great account of " obedience and 
fubjection to the bifhop," that they who " do any 
thing without him " are efteemed " doing the devil 
a fervice " ; and " thole that remain with him " 
are, upon this account only, thought worthy of the 
character " of belonging to Chrift: " ; and are re- 
prefented " as walking not as men, but according 
to Chrift " ; Yea, in fo high eftimation is obedience 
to the officers of the church, with the author of 
thefe epiftles, that he even M pawns his foul for 
thofe who obey the bifhop, prefbyters and deacons," 
and defires " his portion in God may be with fuch." 

These, and like, exprefTions, fo frequently to 
be met with in thefe epiftles, can't eafily be fuppo- 
fed to have been penned by the true Ignatius. Jn 
their literal ftrict fenfe, they are unworthy of any 
pious writer $ much more of the celebrated father, 
to whom they are afcribed : Nor can it be denied, 
that they aggrandife bifhops beyond all reafonable 
bounds, and plead for the mod blind, implicit and 
abfolute obedience, as that which is properly due 
to them. And, in a qualified fenfe, they are fome 
of them very unguarded ; others fcarce capable of 
being at all jufbified ♦, and, in general, all of them 
do much rather favour of the language and fpirit 
" of after times," than of the age in which Ignatius 
is known to have lived. 

There is, perhaps, no fact more notorioufly 
evident, than that none of the facred writers, nor 
primitive fathers, either of the fame age, or near 
the fame age, in which Ignatius fioiirifhcd, do hold 
the lead affinity with him, in his ftrange talk ( if it 
be his ) about the officers cf the chriftian church. 


App B N D IX. 


If wc look into the " Paftor of Hermas, '" the 
u cpiftle of Polycarp," or any other genuine piece, 
near the time in which thefe epiftles are faid to be 
wrote, we (hall find in them all the difcoveries of a 
quite different fpirit. Thefe unitedly concur in the 
like plain language ; fpeaking of the officers of the 
church in a manner becoming the fimplicity of the 
gofpel, and the purity and humility of thofe early 
days ; Whereas, when we turn to the " Ignatian 
epiftles," the reverfe is clearly vifible through theft*- 
all ; little being here to be feen but fuch high drains 
of language, as are evidently adapted, if not pur- 
pofely contrived, to exalt the clergy, and fecure to 
them all power, reverence and fubjeclion. And 
how fliall this be accounted for ? Why fhould there 
be fuch a fignal difference between the manner of 
writing in thefe epiftles, and all the other extant 
books of the fame age ? 

*D N 

To this it is faid, that the ftile of authors is very 
different, and the turn of expreflion, in every 
writer, as peculiar to him, as his countenance or 
gate : For which reafon, its thought to be no ways 
ftrange, that the manner of Ignatius's writing is not 
like that of his contemporaries. 

It is readily acknowledged, that the particular 
turn of language, in different authors, is different, 
as is pleaded ♦, but at the fame time, denied, that 
this at all removes the difficulty. For a number of 
authors, writing upon the fame fubj eel:, may each 
of them write in his own peculiar ftile, and yet a- 
gree in exhibiting the like account. The ftile of 
Hermas widely differs from that of Clement, as 
Clement's does from that of Polycarp ; and yet, 


up Appendix. 

they all lead us to think much the fame thing about 
the clergy ; and this* very evidently, not with - 
ftanding they feverally exprefs themfelves in a turn 
peculiar each one to himfelf. And why might not 
Ignatius, with the reft of his contemporaries, have 
wrote in his own ftile, and yet have concurred with 
them in a like account of the officers of the church ? 
'Tis certain he might. Audit muft be afcribed, 
not to meer difference of ftile, but to fome other 
caufe, that he io ftrangely differs from them. 

It is therefore further pleaded, Ignatius was a 
Syrjajc, and its no other than might be expected 
to find him writing in a " (welling turgid ftile. '* 
To which it is eafy to reply, 

His being a Syrian may poffibly* account for 
Hs fometimes barbarous Greek, as well as uncouth 
compound words peculiar to v himfelf •, but how it 
fhould account for his fentiments concerning the 
clergy, as differing from thofe of his contempora- 
ries, is not fo eafy to fay. For not only is the 
high language in thefeepiftles, but the thing intend- 
ed by it, quite different from that which is contain- 
ed in the other writings about the fame age. Ig- 
natius is alone, not in ftile only, but in real mean- 
ing. Unclothe the metaphors, qualify the hyper- 
boles, bringdown the rhetorical drains ufed in thefe 
writings, and put them into fimple language, and 
their true fpirit, their genuine intendment, will car- 
ry the honor and power of the clergy much higher, 
than it is carried by all the phrafes of all the con- 
temporary writers united together ; Nor can a per- 
fon, who reads the epiftles of Ignatius, help having 
excited in his mind a far more exalted idea of pref- 


Appendix m 

byters as well as bifhops, than by reading all the 
other writers, till we come to the third and fourth 

The plain truth is, there is fo little refemblance 
between thefe epiftles, upon the head under confr- 
deration, and the other writings of the fame age ; 
and, I may add, fo great a refemblance between 
them, and the writings of a posterior date, that 
one can fcarce help thinking, the real author of 
them was alive in the world, long after the death 
of the truly primitive Jgnatius. 

However the difpute about the fuperiority of 
bifhops to prefbyters be .determined, nothing is 
more evident, than that the language relative to the 
clergy, befp6aking the reverence and fubmiflion 
due to them, was very different after* the fecond 
century, from what it was before. And as the 
language, in the " Ignatian epiftles," is quite dif- 
ferent, upon this head, from the language of the 
age in which this father lived ; fo it -well agrees with 
that, which was in fad ufed afterwards. 

This is particularly obvious, upon a comparifbn 
between the books that go under the name of the 
" apoltolical conftitutions, and canons," and ** thefe 
epiftles." Before their appearance in the editions 
of Ulher and Voflius, the agreement between them, 
not in fpirit only, but in words and phrafes, was 
fo obfervable, that fome have not lcrupled to fay, 
that they had both one author. That great anti- 
quary, the arch-bifhop of Armagh, was clearly of 
the opinion, that the fame hand interpolated the 
Ignatian epiftles, that interpolated the apoftolical 


H2 Appendix. 

conftitutions ; and is fomewhat large in offering 
the reafons of his entertaining fuch a thought. And 
fince the publication of the new, and ( as is tho't ) 
very much purged editions, the refemblance is ftill 
vifible ; fo clearly fo, that I can't fuppofe, but 
prejudice itfelf will own, there is a much greater 
analogy between them, in their high defcriptions of 
biffiops, and the honor and obedience due to thern, 
than between thefe epiftles, and any other piece 
that is not of a much later date. 

And what mould be the reafon of this ? Why 
fhould the Ignatian epiftles be thus different from 
all the contemporary writings, and fo much like 
thofe which did not appear till many years after 
his death ? Why mould they be wrote with a fpirit, 
and in language, that are well fuited to the claims 
made by the clergy, and the honor and obedience 
that were in fact yielded to them, not at the time 
when they were wrote, but long after the fup- 
poied author of them was gone out of the world ? 
This furely looks iufpicious, and is a fhrewd fign 
of unfair dealing fome how or other.— To proceed, 

III. The mod weighty confederation of all is, 
the appropriation of the names, bifhop and 
prefbyter, fo commonly and certainly to be met 
with in thefe epiftles. The learned Daille diftin- 
guifhes this from all his other arguments, calling it 
*' argumentum palmarium " ; as well he might, 
it being an argument that is founded on one of the 
bed and fureft rules in criticifm, evidencing a pre- 
tended genuine writing to befpurious, or corrupted *, 
namely, it's ufing words in an appropriated 
fenfe, which words were not fo ufed at the time 


Appendix, f i 3 

when this writing is known to have been penned, 
but were fo ufed in after-ages. The grcateft 
critics ever recur to this as the furcft teft : Nor is 
its fufficiency, as fuch, in matters of this nature, 
difputed by any. In applying therefore this teft 
to the point in hand, let it be obferved j 

The words, bifhop arid prefbyter, are, in the 
" Ignatian epiftles ", appropriated terms ; not 
ufed in a loofe and promifcuous manner, but in a 
fenfe particularly ascertained and fixed. Bifliops 
are not here called prefbyters, nor are prefbyters 
called bifhops ; but the officers, filled bifhops, are 
diftinguifhed from thofe that are ftiled prefbyters, 
and, on the other hand, thofe that are (tiled pref- 
byters are, in like manner, diftinguifhed from thofe 
that are (tiled bifhops. And the terms, bifhop and 
prefbyter, are the appropriated ones, pointing 
out thefe different church-officers. And this appro- 
priation of the words is not accidental, but runs 
thro' all the epiftles, and all the editions of them, 
the Ufherian and Voffian, as well as thofe that pre- 
ceded them. And 'tis fo facred and inviolable, 
that, in no cafe, at no time, upon no occafion, is 
this ufe of the words departed from. Not an irv- 
(tance is to be met with, where the word bifhop is 
confounded with the word prefbyter ; or the word 
prefbyter, with the word bifhop : But thefe terms 
are accurately and religiouQy applied to different 
perfons, in a fixed and appropriated (cnk. That is 
the manner of diction in thefe epiftles, " obey your 
bifhop, and the prefbytery. " — "I haye been 
judged worthy to fee you by Damas, your bifhop •, 
and your prefbyters, BafTjs and Apollonius. "— 
" The bifhop prefiding in the place of God, 

O prefbyters 

ii£ Appendix. 

prefbyters in the place of the council of the apcftles." 
— " Let all reverence the bifliop as the Father, 
and the .prefbyters as the Sanhedrim of God. " — 
*• Attend to the bifhop, and the prefbytery. " — 
But I have no need to multiply citations here. 'Tis. 
the very thing pleaded, in favor of epifcopacy, 
that Ignatius ever diftinguifhes bifhops from pref- 
byters. This he has been faid to do ( if my me- 
mory don't fail me) thirty-fix times : Which, I am 
fatisfied, is not an enlargement ; tho\ I muft con- 
iefs, I have not been fo curious as to adjuft the 
jprecife number. 

What agreement now is there between the fup- 
pofed Ignatius, and his contemporaries, upon this 
head ? Do they likewife ufe the words, biihop and 
prcfbyter, in an appropriated fixed fenfe ? The 
plain anfweris, they do not. Far from fo doing, 
they differ as much from him in their ufe of thefe 
terms, as they do from any of the writers of the 
third or fourth centuries : Nor is there an author 
extant, that wrote either before Ignatius, or at the 
time when he wrote, or even afterwards till we are 
got into the third century and onwards, that ufes 
thefe words as he does, in a fenfe fo certainly, fo 
commonly, and fo invariably fixed and determined. 

It is plain, there is no manner of affinity be- 
tween the apoftolic,and Ignatian ufe of thefe words ; 
tho' Ignatius was peifonally known to, at lead, 
fome of the apoflles. With him they are always 
appropriated terms ; but with them, they are 
promifcuouQy ufed, as may be feen in the forego- 
ing difcourfe. It evidently appears from hence, 
that fcilhop and prcfbyter were not yet fettled 


Appendix. #*~i5 

nimes, fignifying diftina officers. And this, as 
He fay?, was the unanimous opinion of the an- 
cW> fa hers, who fpeak of the ufe of thefe words 
Is primitive age' And Dr. Whkby, an epifco- 
pal writer, affirms°the fame thing ; as was obferved 
in the difcourfe to which this is annexed. Nay, 
Bellarmine himfelf, a Roman-cathohc-wnter re- 
penting the fenfe of the fathers upon this point 
fay , as he is quoted by Daille, « In the apoftohc 
times, the names, biffiop and prefcyter, were com- 
mon to all the priefts, both to the greater whom 
we now callbimops; and to the left, whom we 
calprefbyters." I don't bring thefe teftfansu* 
by way of proof, that thefe names were thus uied 
"I the firft age •, but only to (hoW.thtf to to« 
of the matter is not confined to thofe, who live in 
thefe latter days, and maybe fufpefted of 
aga nft he order of bimops •, but that it was the 
opinion of the ancient fathers themfelves, even 
thofe of them who flouriftied after ep.fcopacy took 
place, and were hearty friends to this kind of go- 
vernment in the church. 

And as thefe names are promifcuoufiy applied 
in the apoftohc writings fo are they in toother 
writings before thofe or Ignatius. In He mas s 
«' Paftor " the word, bilhops, is explained to Ug- 
aify * " thofe that prefide in the church •, and 
thofe that prefide in the church are &?%&£ 
ters that prefide in the church". And in Clement s 
« epiftfe to the Corinthians," the fame officers that 
are called " prefcyters," are exprdsly fpoken ot 
as " caft out of their epifcopacy." U 

O 2 AN0 

| ibid. pag. 173- ca P« &*' 

Si mil. ix. 

u6 m Appendix. 

And if we turn to Polycarp, the fuppofed col- 
lector of the " Ignatian epiftles, M and the next 
and neareft writer to him, he fays nothing from 
whence it can be gathered, that bifhop and prefby* 
ter were, in his day, appropriated terms, and ap- 
plied, as fuch, to diftinci officers in the church. 
Pj^fbyters and deacons are the only officers he 
fpeaks of *, and he undoubtedly means by them the 
fame church-officers that are called by Clement, 
and by the apoftle Paul, in his epiftle to this fame 
church, bifhops and deacons. And 'tis remarkable, 
Polycarp no where ufes the word bifhop, nor does 
he fay a word of the bifhop of Philippi, much lefs 
of his diftin&ion from the prefbyters of this church : 
Wherein he widely differs from Ignatius •, which is 
really unaccountable, confidering how lately Igna- 
tius, under very extraordinary circumftances, had 
wrote his epiftles, and how particularly acquainted 
Polycarp ( as is pretended ) was with them *, efpe- 
cially confidering (till further, that Ignatius had 
wrote one epiftle to Polycarp himfelf, and another 
to his church at Smyrna,in one of which he " pawns 
his foul for them that were obedient to the bifhop 
and the other clergy " ; and, in the other, make's 
the bifhop fo necefTary, " that no adminiftration 
could be valid without him, but whatever he fhouk). 
approve would be pleafing to God. " 

No more is to be feen of an appropriated ufe of 
the terms bifhop and prefbyter in Juftin Martyr, 
than in Polycarp. Irenaeus frequently ufes thefe 
trerms, but in the loofe and promifcuous fenfe ; as 
is well known to all who have read him : Nor dp 
the terms appear to be ar p opriated ones, till to- 
wards the dole of th* feaji.l century ; and even 


Appendix. 117 

then the appropriation ( as was obferved in the fore- 
going difcourfe) was not fteadily fixed. We muft 
get into the third century, and the middle of it too, 
before we (hall find it, after the manner of Ignatius, 
facred and inviolable. 

Upon which the enquiry is obvious and juft, 
how comes it to pafs, that Ignatius mould con- 
stantly ufe the terms, bifhop and prefbyter, not 
in the fenfe, in which they were ufed, in the age in 
which he wrote, but in the fenfe in which they were 
ufed in other aces, long after his death ? 
This ought certainly to excite our jealoufy, and 
put us upon caution left we mould take fomeknavifh 
lmpoftor for the worthy and primitive Ignatius. 
Words, we know, often vary in their meaning ; 
and fometimes particular words are as fure marks 
of fuch a particular age, as particular garbs or fa- 
ihipns. And this is the cafe here. Before the daya 
of Ignatius, about the time of his nourifhing and 
dying, and for fome confiderable time afterwards, 
the words, bifhop and prefbyter, were unappro- 
priated terms, and promifcuoufly applied to the 
fame perfons : Whereas, towards the goino- out of 
the age in which he lived, or rather the coming in 
of the next, they loft their promifcuous ufe, and 
became appropriated terms, and were as fuch 
applied to different perfons, who were accordingly 
now diftinguifhed from each other by being fpoken 
of under thefe names. And as thefe names, in the 
epifties afenbed to Ignatius, in their pureft editions 
are ever ufed in the appropriated fenfe, diftin- 
guiOiing bifhops from prefbyters, we are prefented 
with a mod evident mark of time posterior to 
that, m which the true Ignatius is known to have 


1 1 8 Appendix. 

Enough, Itruft, has now been faid to anfwer 
the defignl had in view, which was to juftify thofe 
who pay no great regard to what is bro't from the 
•* Ignatian epiftles," in fupport of epifcopacy. 
And I would flatter myfelf, that even our opponents, 
while they judge impartially, will not think, we 
herein acl: as tho* we had nothing to fay in vindica- 
tion of ourfelves. Bigotry itfelf muft confefs there 
h good reafon, at lead the plaufible appearance 
of it, to fuppofe, either that Ignatius did not write 
the epiftles that are afcribed to him ; or, if he did 
write them, that they are handed down to us so 
mingled with corruption, as not to defervc 
a reception as his genuine works. 

THE reader is defired to correS, with his pen, the fol- 
lowing errata,and fach other as he may obferve, which 
have efcaped the author's notice. 

Page. io,linc2, read there. P,i5, I. 3, from the bottom 
r. defcribing. P. 25, 1. 18, read conftituted. P. 37. l.ic, 
r. confeffus. P. 39, 1. 9, from the bottom, r. confefTus. 
P. 72. J. 5, of the note at the bottom, r. L'arroquc. 
P. 76, 1. laft, r. confeflionura. P. 77. 1. 3. from the bot- 
tom r. univerfali. P. 79, 1. laftbutone, r. or. P. Sa.J, 
4, del. of. 



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